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If you thought the Raspberry Pi was tiny, then check out the Cotton Candy, a computer that fits onto a USB stick. Billed as the smallest computer in the world, the Cotton Candy is designed to be a computer you can carry in your pocket.
The $199 Linux-powered machine is simple and only needs a USB port for power and a HDMI-compatible display to operate.
It can be plugged into any computer or device with a USB port, hooked to a display and paired with a mouse and keyboard and it's ready to go. Cotton Candy's manufacturers describe it as providing a secure way for people to access cloud services and apps on the move.
Photo: Cotton Candy
Processor: Arm Cortex-A9 1.2GHz.
Graphics: Quad-core ARM Mali 400MP. 480p/720p/1080p decode of MPEG4-SP/H.263/H.264 AVC/MPEG-2/VC1. OpenGL ES v2.0.
Video/Audio: HDMI 1.3a with audio for connection to devices that do not support USB mass storage.
Memory: 1GB DRAM.
Storage: Up to 64GB local microSD storage.
Connectivity: Wi-fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.USB 2.0 male form factor for power and connection to devices that support USB mass storage.
Supported OS: Android Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich and Ubuntu.
Striking a nice balance between price and power, the $149 Beagleboard-xM is the platform of choice for many home-brew electronics and robotics projects. Powered by USB, the BeagleBoard-xM is open-source hardware designed to offer laptop-grade performance and expandability packed into a device just over three inches across.
The board - which supports a range of operating systems including Linux, Risc OS and Windows CE - is suited for use as a low-cost PC or a development platform, with 512MB allowing for software multitasking and compilation of large bundles of code.
BeagleBoard can support equipment ranging from sensors to electric motors, making it well suited to controlling electronics and robotics. The devices are being used as a processing unit in projectsto develop an autonomous ground vehicle, unmanned aerial vehicles and even a robot postman.
Board: OMAP3530 system on a chip.
Processor: 1GHz Arm Cortex-A8.
Graphics: OpenGL ES 2.0 capable 2D-3D graphics accelerator capable of rendering 10 million polygons per second. HD video capable TMS320C64x+ DSP for signal processing at up to 430MHz.
Video/Audio: DVI-D, S-Video out.Stereo audio in and out for a microphone, headphones or speakers.
Connectivity: USB peripherals, MMC+/SD/SDIO interface for memory or wireless connectivity.
With 1080p video playback and infrared remote-control compatibility, the tiny CuBox is crying out for a place in the living room. Unsurprisingly, the typical use for the $135 box is as a media centre or set-top box.
But the CuBox, which supports various Linux distributions including Ubuntu and Debian, has more tricks up its sleeve – able to function as a thin-client device, software development platform or as part of network-attached storage setup.
The CuBox is no bigger than two inches in any direction and draws no more than three watts of power from its 5V power supply.
Board: Marvell Armada 510 system on a chip.
Processor: 800 MHz ARMv7 core
Video/Audio: HDMI and SPDIF optical audio.
Memory: 1GB 800MHz DDR3
Storage: Micro SD default 2GB.
Connectivity: 10/100/1000 Ethernet. Two high-speed USB host ports. E-SATA, microUSB device port for development uses.
Other: Infrared receiver.