USB stick plus monitor equals an Android computer

I doubt mobile computing will evolve to computers on a USB stick for most people, but this prototype device offering found by The Verge is certainly intriguing to a gadget geek like me. Called the Cotton Candy, the small device looks like a traditional USB flash drive with one extra hardware bit on the outside; an HDMI port. While the stick can be plugged into any computer’s USB slot, it works as a standalone computer as well, capable of running Android, Ubuntu Linux or, through a virtualization client, Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X.

We’ve seen “PC on a stick” products before, but the HDMI port helps make the Cotton Candy stand out. Attach a monitor to the HDMI port and a power supply to the USB jack and y0u’re up and running. Adding to the feature set is a microSD slot, and integrated Wi-Fi and BlueTooth radios; these wireless options provide both connectivity and support for a keyboard or a mouse.

Of course, if the Cotton Candy prototype ever makes it to market, don’t expect a full desktop or laptop level of performance. Internally, the device is expected to have the guts of a capable smartphone: 1.2 GHz Cortex A9 processor, 1 GB of memory, and a quad-core graphics chip supporting 1080p video encoding and playback. But with dimensions of 8 cm x 2.5 cm, you weren’t really expecting an 2.8 GHz multi-core desktop processor, were you?

While I like the mobile aspect of the Cotton Candy, a better use for the product may be to extend the feature set of a traditional laptop or computer. It can be used to transfer media from a mobile operating system to a desktop environment or for running Android inside Windows or Mac OS X as needed. Sure, it’s a very niche product, but we geeks often gravitate to such things!

M-Audio 9900-65145-12 Fast Track Pro – 4 x 4 Mobile USB Audio/MIDI Interface with Preamps

M-Audio 9900-65145-12 Fast Track Pro – 4 x 4 Mobile USB Audio/MIDI Interface with Preamps

  • 24-bit/96kHz audio interface with dual mic/instrument preamps
  • Includes Pro Tools SE production software
  • Mac and PC compatible; class compliant with Mac OS X 10.3.9 and higher

The Fast Track Pro delivers all the mobile recording flexibility of the Fast Track USB, plus even more professional features. You get 2 front-panel mic/line inputs complete with phantom power for condenser microphones, inserts for outboard effects balanced and unbalanced analog outputs, S/PDIF digital I/O, MIDI I/O, and more. Fast Track Pro also features near-zero latency direct hardware monitoring and low-latency ASIO software monitoring, plus an A/B source switch and dual output pairs for DJ-s

Switcher to Mac tells what’s wrong with Windows

“Apple will host its fiscal first quarter analyst call on Wed. and the company’s naysayers will hear if the quarter’s iPhone 5 sales were sufficient for the grossly overinflated expectations. However, I expect that Mac sales will likely hit yet another new mark driven by switchers to the platform,” David Morgenstern reports for ZDNet. “The company often tells analysts that, yet again, sales of Macs in the Apple Stores have been to customers new to the Mac. And certainly, that trend will continue, particularly with the new stores in China.”

MacDailyNews Note: With iMac supplies severely constrained/nonexistent during much of the quarter, it would be difficlut for Apple to set a new record for quarterly Mac sales.

“Of course, Redmond keeps helping Apple out with its chaotic strategies. The installed base aren’t buying the Windows refresh pitch this time,” Morgenstern reports. “I am a witness to this switch. My neighbor just bought an iMac from our local Apple Store. He’s loving it and signing up for classes. He said the machine was the most beautiful piece of technology he’s ever owned. You could hear the pleasure in his voice.”

Morgenstern reports, “Now this guy has never owned a Mac. Ever. I carpooled with him when I worked at MacWEEK in the 1990s and he was immune from the slightest hint of Mac inoculation. He was a proud PC DOS user and graduated to various flavors of Windows. He told me many times that he would ‘never, ever buy a Mac.’ But now, a new iMac sits on his desk. I asked him what had happened? Why not buy a new Windows machine? He said simply that ‘back in those days Windows worked. It’s stopped working.’”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Windows never worked, Morgenstern’s neighbor was just deluding himself, but, hey, welcome to the Mac! Congrats!