Folks looks like I spoke too soon. Just when I though the concept of a portable PC in a USB Stick size was to be the domain of the Raspberry Pi Foundation coasting in at US$25 and a Cloud-based (?) tablets, cheap like Roti and daal from the Indian Government at US$35 a pop, some craze individual decided to breathe life into my prediction.
What prediction, pray tell you intone? A quick perusal of my article $25 Raspberry Pi Mini USB PC and the $22 Aakash Tablet – Computer Adoption on a Budget reveals my ambition: that these devices move from the realm of being cheaper alternatives for those living below the poverty line to ultra-cheap computing option for tech enthusiasts – the first step to mass commercialization.
Memories of the netbook should be coming hazily floating up in the recesses of your mind. It too, began as a pet project of Nicholas Negroponte principal of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s) Media Lab (2005). Granted, at US$100 for an Open Source scaled down version of a Laptop, it certainly was not Third World ready. But it gave us the Netbook, which had a decent two (2) year run in 2008, starting with the Asus Eee NetBook.
So I am pleased to announce that the same thing appears to be happening thanks to the nice folks from Norwegian climes in the guise of a company named FXI Technologies. The pictures of their product, code named Cotton Candy say it all, adding to my ecstatic glee, as its images are sweet indeed!
Borgar Ljosland, founder and CEO of FXI Technologies, speaks the words that makes me realize that my article bears witness to the future of the Desktop PC and the fulfillment of my many ruminations about the future of the PC on the Geezam Blog, quote: “Today’s device functionality is often limited by the size of the screen it inhabits. We’ve turned things upside down, eliminating the screen and delivering the power of a PC and the web to any screen.”
Like the diminutive Raspberry Pi USB Stick Mini PC, this too comes with the capability of being a PC that utilizes a standalone computer Monitor or television Set utilizing either a HDMI or USB 2.0 port. Where it leaves the Raspberry pi in the dust is in the specs, impressive for the little candy-coated powerhouse:
- Dual-Core 1.2GHz Samsung Exynos processor
- ARM GPU for 1080p video playback
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- MicroSD card for its 1GB (scalable to 64GB I suppose?)
With Dimensions of 2.5cm by 8cm, this is truly a commercial step up from the Raspberry Pi and is sure to give enthusiasts of Open Source and Android something to play with before it achieves mass market appeal. This as at “sub-US$200” price, is really just an Android guts shrunk down to the size of a thumb drive. The popularity and familiarity of Google android will surely drive it rapid adoption and a possible accelerant to the demise of the PC as predicted in Are we witnessing Laptop and PC Extinction?
Make it able to run Windows 7 and we have a winner in the Gamin Arena as well, as despite the love for Tablets and smartphones, that Dual-Core (FXI, can you ramp up to Quad-Core by the Second Quarter of 2012AD?) power in your pocket amplified by a bigger high definition onscreen will make this a favourite with gamers who are leaving the Consoles, Sony PSP’s and Nintendo 3DS’s for Google android Tablets and smartphone as prognosticated in my article Nintendo and Sony vs Smartphones and Tablets: Post – Portable Gaming Era but still crave a big screen.
Definitely, the FXI Cotton Candy is going to be an accelerant to both the Post-PC Era as well as the Post-Portable Gaming Era, should the big PC makers decided that low-cost high sales volumes USB Stick Mini PC’s PC are the coming wave of the future…and Microsoft Windows 8 (wishful thinking!!) joins the party!!!
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