It's pretty amazing what you can cram into a USB
flash drive these days. FXI Technologies, a hardware and software startup based in Trondheim Norway, demonstrated this week the world's first any screen, connected computing USB device. Codenamed "Cotton Candy", this sweet little device serves as a technology bridge between any display, the Cloud, and any input peripheral. The vision for Cotton Candy is to allow users a single, secure point of access to all personal Cloud services and apps through their favorite operating system, while delivering a consistent experience on any screen. The device will serve as a companion to smartphones, tablets, notebook PC and Macs, as well add smart capabilities to existing displays, TVs, set top boxes and game consoles.
"Today's device functionality is often limited by the size of the screen it inhabits," said Borgar Ljosland, founder and CEO of FXI Technologies. "We've turned things upside down, eliminating the screen and delivering the power of a PC and the web to any screen."
Cotton Candy is a prototype USB stick equipped with an ARM
Cortex-A9 (1.2GHz) CPU, an ARM Mali-400 MP (Quad-core) GPU, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, HDMI output and the Android operating system. It decodes MPEG-4, H.264 and other video formats and display HD graphics on any HDMI equipped screen. Content is then accessed through a secure FXI web portal and can be controlled via smartphones, keyboards, mice and other USB peripherals. FXI demonstrated Cotton Candy for the first time by connecting it via HDMI to a 42" HDTV running Android and displaying YouTube videos and 3D games. Then, they switched to a word processing and spread sheet application. Next, they unplugged Cotton Candy from the TV and connected it via USB to a Windows and then a Mac laptop to play Angry Birds on the Android OS.
Currently FXI Tech is sampling prototypes to key OEM partners from the set top box, memory, PC, mobile phone, appliance, in-car entertainment and other industries. Consumer pricing has not yet been established, but product is expected to be available in volumes the second half of 2012. Just think -- we'll probably have full-on supercomputers in flash drives come 2020.