back to article Linux PC-in-a-stick to cost coders £139

Reg Hardware Mobile Week Norway's FXI Technologies has begun taking orders for its ultra-tiny CStick Cotton Candy Linux computer, pricing the PC-in-a-stick at just £139 for Brits. That's excluding shipping and import taxes, mind, and even then FXI admitted that the wee gadget will be shipping in limited quantities when it …

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  1. James 51 Silver badge

    Do they have pi on their face?

    Android? Really?

    1. Gerard Krupa

      Re: Do they have pi on their face?

      It also runs Ubuntu

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Misleading?

    Not really a PC if it has an ARM CPU is it... let me know when they fit a x86 into a stick might be interested then.

    Meanwhile the shipping and tax for this alone should cover the cost of the Raspberry Pi board, so I'll stick with that - thank you very much.

    1. Bakunin
      Facepalm

      Re: Misleading?

      Because there's nothing "personal" or "computer" like about an ARM based machine?

      The "PC" concept wasn't born with Windows and the X86.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        PC concept

        > The "PC" concept wasn't born with Windows and the X86.

        No, it was born with DOS and the x86.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: PC concept

          CP/M and the 8080.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: PC concept

          Just for the record, the Homebrew Computer Club coined the term "personal computer" in (roughly) early 1976. I don't remember who first used the term, but we were pretty much all using it in normal conversation before the USofA's bicentennial. It was used to cover any computer that was intended to be used by an individual, regardless of power, processor(s) or other configuration. Thus the term personal computer. I called my Heath H11 a PC in 1978.

          Several years later, IBM added the capital letters and co-opted the phrase in a brilliant marketing move. The rest is history.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: PC concept

            @jake You, sir, are completely RIGHT.

            April 1, 1977

            "On 1 April Apple Corporation is founded by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs.

            They developed the Apple I and introduced the term: Personal Computer."

            http://www.thocp.net/timeline/1976.htm

            So fact is Apple introduced the first PC.

            Bet some minds are blown by that :)

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Re: Re: PC concept

              Actually, +++ath0, Jobs & The Woz got the term from the Homebrew Computer Club. I don't remember them capitalizing it in their early Apple advertisingPress Releases, but my gut feeling is that Steve would have done so ... IBM co-opting the term is probably part of the reason Apple is so obsessive with patent, copyright & trademark filing even when prior art clearly exists.

        3. Euripides Pants Silver badge

          Re: PC concept

          Nope, it was the Altair 8800 and the S-100 bus.

        4. vagabondo

          Re: PC concept

          Well there was a "Personal Computer World" magazine in 1978.

          There was even an "IBM 5100 PC" in 1975.

          I found this page bringing back memories of several early PCs:

          http://www.blinkenlights.com/pc.shtml

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Re: PC concept

            The 5100 series (1975) was a "portable computer", not a "personal computer". The unfortunately named 5150, with it's completely different architecture, had almost nothing in common with the rest of the 5100 series.

            And again, I was discussing the origin of the term, not marketing.

    2. Jan 0
      Holmes

      Re: Misleading?

      Well, let me think. PCs have had 6502s, 68000s and Alphas to name just 3 of many possible chips. What memory of "Personal Computer" has Intel brainwashed for you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Misleading?

        It wasn't Intel, it was IBM who really took the "Personal Computer" ball and ran with it. Earlier computers were mostly called "minicomputer", "microcomputer" or "home computer" and only rarely "personal computer". That's until IBM came into the scene with the IBM PC.

        You'll find Alpha powered computers tend to be called Workstations.

        It just gets confusing if we start calling all smaller computers since the Altair "personal computers".

        1. Wyrdness

          Re: Re: Re: Misleading?

          It's already confusing.

          Is a Mac a PC?

          What if you install Windows on an Intel Mac. Does it then become a PC?

          If a Mac is a PC, then are older PPC-based Macs also PCs?

          If you install Linux on an Intel PC, then is it still a PC?

          How about big 8-cpu Xeon servers running Windows? Are they still PC's, given that PC stands for 'personal computer'?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Misleading?

            Indeed it's complicated.

            Is my ARM powered Panasonic TV - which runs FreeBSD and let's me download apps - a PC too?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Misleading?

              I'm a PC...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Misleading?

                > I'm a PC...

                No, you're an AC,

                1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
                  Paris Hilton

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rabble Rabble Rabble

                  Isn't PC just a marketing term?

                  /me dons flame retardent clothing

          2. BitDr

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Misleading?

            It is not complicated, there's just a lot of marketing fog. The term PC is derived from "Personal Computer", as in for the use of one person. Simple really. These can be machines such as;

            Commodore 64, 128, Plus 4, Amiga, VIC 20

            Apple ][, IIc, III, Mac (all variations), and even the iPad

            IBM PC and all of its descendants.

            TRS 80 Model 1, 3, CoCo etc.

            BBC Micro

            Sinclair ZX81, Spectrum etc.

            Amstrad

            Atari 500ST, 1024ST etc.

            Texas Instruments 99/4A

            Coleco Adam

            Ohio Scientific

            NorthStar

            IMSAI 8080 (if you really REALLY want that old-school look & feel)

            And many many more.

            The trouble is that the term Personal Computer has been plastered over the top of the original term "micro-computer", which is a more accurate description of (but not nearly as friendly as) what the machine really is. A Microcomputer can be used as a personal computer but an instance of a personal computer, by definition, would not be capable of being used by more than one person at a time.

            The micro-computers of the last 10 years (2002-2012) have been more than powerful enough to support many users at once, making them more along the lines of yesterdays Mini and main-frame computers (but much easier to use & maintain).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Stop

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Misleading?

              Most people think of the PC as referring to an IBM PC or a clone.

              Equipment has changed over the years but most people still think of it as a box for personal use, probably using an x86-based CPU based on the premise of the original design of a generic piece of computing hardware with an open and upgradable archtecture.

              These days however, the term is pretty meaningless.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Misleading?

                > These days however, the term is pretty meaningless.

                Apparently not, try downloading the very latest version of eg. Chrome: "For PC, Mac and Linux"

                If you think it's meaningless you'll be surprised that the PC version won't run on Linux or Macs.

    3. S Watts
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Misleading?

      I'm sure that this device would be quite capable of emulating an IBM PC if anyone felt the need.

      But I also agree that it doesn't compare well with the Raspberry Pi.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Misleading?

        > I'm sure that this device would be quite capable of emulating an IBM PC if anyone felt the need.

        So what? I'm sure it can also run the Hercules emulator, but it doesn't make it an IBM mainframe.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Real pi's tomorrow - not pre-orders

    http://www.raspberrypi.org/

    FXI's box is faster, smaller, but more expensive.

    My next laptop will be a (Pixel Qi LCD) + (Pi or FXI) + (keyboard) in a suitcase. The small cheap computer is back :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Real pi's tomorrow - not pre-orders

      Umm once you add a Pixel Qi display (~ $ 275 for 10.1") I have some reservations on calling it "cheap" - unless you happen to have access to special pricing of course.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        $195 each

        First attempt at getting a price came back with $195 each. If I go to the Pi forum, I am sure I could find some people interested in clubbing together to get a quantity discount. First thing I do with a new laptop is replace the glossy display and the spinning disk. Even at £125, a Qi display is about double the one-off cost of an ordinary LCD panel, and I like to go outside when the sun shines.

        I am tired of getting burned for the cost of a whole laptop when all I want is a CPU/graphics upgrade. In the long run, I see this option saving me money.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: $195 each

          Well $195 is better, the $275 I quoted is the current price at the Maker's Shed:

          http://www.makershed.com/Pixel_Qi_display_p/mkpq01.htm

          They usually don't jack up prices that much, but who knows..

    2. Fibbles

      Re: Real pi's tomorrow - not pre-orders

      What will you be using to power this briefcase?

      1. Van

        Re: Re: Real pi's tomorrow - not pre-orders

        "What will you be using to power this briefcase?"

        A wild guess, a battery?

    3. Toastan Buttar
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Real pi's tomorrow - not pre-orders

      "My next laptop will be a (Pixel Qi LCD) + (Pi or FXI) + (keyboard) in a suitcase."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMS_Synthi_AKS

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like (raspberry) pie.

  5. Tim Brown 1
    Pint

    Let me see...

    So basically, it's a smartphone without a touchscreen, battery, headphone socket and gsm radio then? Plus it can't do anything useful unless it's connected to something else.

    A few years ago I might have been impressed, now it just seems kind of pointless.

  6. Dotter

    Bootable USB

    To be able to use this, you have to plug it into something else...so, is this really much better than having a bootable USB stick with a linux distro on it in practice?

    1. Stephen 2

      Re: Bootable USB

      Indeed, it's a bit confusing really!

      You need to plug it into a usb port to power it, chances are that usb port will be a laptop or computer, which you could just use as a.... computer.

      Sure you could plug it into a usb wall wart but meh. They've pushed for a usb stick style just for the "cool" factor I think.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "chances are that usb port will be a laptop or computer,"

        You can get power from a totally dumb USB phone charger, at home or in the car (or office or...).

        Totally dumb. Not just the charger.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ^^^ No Sense

      You plug the power into the microUSB port and it boots up... then you connect the HDMI output to a screen. The device itself doesn't have to be plugged into a USB port to function so, no, it's not like a bootable USB stick at all.

    3. Gerard Krupa

      Re: Bootable USB

      Since a lot of TVs have USB ports you could use one as both the power source and the display

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bootable USB

      The something else could be the USB port on a Sky+ decoder. You could then plug the stick into the TV via the HDMI connection and stream videos from your NAS.

  7. g e

    HDMI-powered?

    Shame you can't power it from the HDMI side, I thought HDMI output a 5V feed for low-power stuff?

    Perhaps this isn't low-power-enough for that. Maybe I'm confused (not unlikely) :o)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HDMI-powered?

      Good question, but the answer is that HDMI only supplies 50mA vs USB's 500mA.

      HDMI is essentially the same as DVI, where the 5v 50mA supply was only ever meant to drive the EDID EEPROM chip in monitors for resolution/etc auto-detection.

      1. Mike Moyle Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Re: HDMI-powered?

        ...Should've gone Thunderbolt.

        (Runs away...)

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anomalous Cowturd
    Meh

    Wot? No parallel port?

    Oh deary me...

    Joking aside, this is too little, too late.

    Pi tomorrow, if I can drag myself out of bed at 05:30...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm setting the alarm for R.Pi Day...

      ...though I'm steeling myself for the prospect of either (a) sleeping through it; or (b) stumbling to the computer, enduring an hour of repeatedly hitting F5 (and following that, the monitor), only to find once I've got through, that I'm too late and the first run of 10,000 Model Bs have all been flogged off...

      But, I'm still going to give it a whirl, on the off-chance that I can actually land myself an R.Pi. Ah, the hoops I jump through ;-)

      (Look forward to seeing a review of the Cotton Candy sometime - this may be the most exciting time for lovers of Small Cheap Computers, since the Eee 701 came out five years ago...)

      1. Vic

        Re: I'm setting the alarm for R.Pi Day...

        > I'm steeling myself for the prospect of either (a) sleeping through it

        You're not going to get one. You might as well stay in bed.

        That goes for the rest of you lot as well. Stay in bed. Don't go to the site. It's not going to work for you.

        Vic

        [Who's going to be up at 6am hitting Ctrl-R like it's going out of fashion :-) ]

        1. Synonymous Howard

          Re: Re: I'm setting the alarm for R.Pi Day...

          I agree with Vic .. this RaspberryPi nonsense is pointless so will everyone stop talking about it and definitely do NOT try to buy one tomorrow morning! [My evil plan is working .. I WILL be able to buy a Pi tomorrow ... wooohaaaaaa 8-]

        2. Vic

          Re: Re: I'm setting the alarm for R.Pi Day...

          > going to be up at 6am hitting Ctrl-R like it's going out of fashion

          Well, that's both RS and Farnell thoroughly DDosed...

          I get the feeling someone doesn't understand how keen we are to get these things...

          Vic.

          [knackered, going back to bed]

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "this is too little, too late."

    Don't think it's too little too late.

    Don't think Raspberry Pi need to be worried either, this has sufficient in common to prove there's a market developing, and sufficient differences to prove that there's room for more than one player in the broader market (assuming this one happens).

    I think the SmartTV and STB people may need to be having a rethink soon though.

    As has been noted above, a dumb HDMI-driven screen and something like one of these (can't comment about this particular one) and you can build your own smart TV (or even your pwn PVR or other screenless STB) with better functionality and better performance for a much better price than a Panasonic or Pace or whatever. Any decent modern TV is basically just a display and an ARM invisibly running Linux, and set top boxes just lose the screen. Some assembly may be required, initiall, but what's to stop the TV market going the same way as the DSL router market in due course.

    "You'll find Alpha powered computers tend to be called Workstations"

    And also servers, and there was a specific chip family called the AlphaPC, and if you had the right handshake you could get Alpha motherboards on industry standard ATX from a handful of vendors and Alpha chips from Samsung and and and. Search for PC164LX and/or PC164SX and see where it leads you.

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