'Cotton Candy' Linux PC-on-a-stick ships at last

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There's been a seemingly endless parade of tiny, Linux-powered PCs entering the market in recent months, including most recently the $49 Cubieboard and the $89 UG802.

It's nothing short of a revolution in computing, as I've noted before, and recently one of the earliest contenders to be announced--the Raspberry Pi-like Cotton Candy--began shipping at last after nearly a yearlong wait.

“You have impatiently (and patiently) been waiting for us to start releasing the Cotton Candy,” reads a forum post from earlier this month by FXI Technologies project administrator Borgar Ljosland. “We are now doing it.”

'A consistent experience on any screen'

To recap, the ARM-based Cotton Candy is a $199 USB-sized device that “allows 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,” in the Norwegian project's own words.

Offering a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, a quad-core, 1.2GHz ARM Mali-400 MP GPU, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and HDMI output, the device is designed to support operating systems including not just Android but also Ubuntu Linux.

It will serve as a companion to smartphones, tablets, and notebook PC and Macs, as well as adding smart capabilities to existing displays, TVs, set-top boxes, and other media that support USB mass storage.

Though shipping was originally planned for this past spring, a number of factors contributed to the delay, Ljosland explained, including a more resource-intensive route on the software side than was originally planned.

The first original batch of shipments was also aborted due to a problem that was discovered in the certification process.

'Now is the time'

Now, however, a developer-oriented version of the PC-on-a-stick is available, albeit with “noticeable limitations” that will be addressed in upcoming software releases, FXI says. Scandinavian registered pre-orders are apparently being fulfilled first.

“It’s still early days for the OS support, but if you want to get a head start and begin testing the device; now is the time,” Ljosland wrote. “We are depending on your feedback and input to guide us towards the goal of Cotton Candy powering the screens of the world.”

More details and ordering information are available on the FXI site.

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