The Raspberry Pi sub-£25 computer has just got its first real competition in the form of the 'Cotton Candy' from Norwegian outfit FXI - a tiny USB stick that turns a TV into an Android-powered desktop.
Despite weighing just 21g and fitting into the same form factor as a slightly bulk USB flash drive, the FXI 'Cotton Candy' packs a serious punch: at its heart is the same 1.2GHz dual-core Exynos ARM-based processor found in Samsung's flagship Galaxy S II handset.
The device has just two physical inputs: a USB connector on one end is used to provide power, while an HDMI connector on the other connects to any compatible TV or monitor at resolutions up to 1920x1080.
Provided with power and a display - plus a keyboard and mouse, which connect wirelessly over Bluetooth - the device transforms a TV into a fully-featured Android workstation, running the 2.3 'Gingerbread' build, with the option of Ubuntu Linux expected to follow shortly.
The Cotton Candy's tricks don't end there, however: connect the USB side to any Windows or OS X-based PC and it launches a virtualised version of the included operating system, offer a secure environment to work on. The system also supports drag and drop file transfer in this mode.
The company's aims go even further, however: it claims to be looking to create a device which can operate on any tablet, smartphone or set-top box - including an iPhone or iPad, which could operate as a terminal to access the Android OS contained within the device.
Sadly, all these features come at a cost: LaptopMag, which had the pleasure of seeing the device in action when Avram Piltch visited the company's headquarters for a demo, reports that FXI is aiming to sell a commercial version of the 'Cotton Candy' for around $200 - significantly more than the $25 target of the Raspberry Pi project.