FXI Cotton Candy USB Computer to Start Shipping This Month

FXI, the Norwegian company that made headlines when it showed off the Cotton Candy, a ground-breaking computer on a USB stick, just announced that it will begin filling preorders for the device later this month. In February, the company launched its developer portal and began taking orders for a limited run of developer kits on cstick.com. Now the company says it will begin shipping out units to those who placed their names on the preorder list.

Though units were originally supposed to start shipping in March, FXI says a number of important tweaks have delayed the manufacturing process. First, the company added a micro USB port to the device and decided to go with a more durable plastic casing for the device. Second, the company's engineers have been making sure that the Cotton Candy can run Android 4.o Ice Cream Sandwich upon release.

FXI reps also tell us that the company will not be accepting any new preorders, because the response so far has already been larger than expected for a simple developer kit program. Users who have already signed up to preorder the device will receive email notices when their units are ready to ship and will be asked, at that time, to pay for their Cotton Candies, which will cost somewhere under $200 U.S. Customers in Norway and surrounding countries will be the first to receive their units while people in other parts of the world like North America may not get theirs until later this Summer. If you haven't already pre-ordered your Cotton Candy, you may have to wait until the company licenses this technology to an OEM that will launch the product under its own brand.

After receiving the Cotton Candy, users will go to cstick.com to activate their devices. Once there, they will be presented with the choice of installing either Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or Ubuntu Linux on their units. After picking an OS, users will be able to plug their Cotton Candies into any existing Mac or PC to launch its environment in a window or into a monitor (via its HDMI connection) to use it as the the only OS.

No larger than a typical USB Flash drive, the Cotton Candy features a dual-core ARM processor, a full USB port for receiving power, a micro USB port, a micro SD card slot and an HDMI-out connector that will attach to any TV or monitor. The device has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios for connecting to the Internet and pairing with devices like mice and keyboards.