Android Powered TVs for the TV Lovers
The demise of Google TV has led to the surge of Android powered tvs and the Chromecast. While we mourn for those that were left behind, we gladly welcome the new wave of devices. The Philips Ambilight Smart TV is the first of its kind from the European manufacturer, and the wait was well worth it. Set to launch in June of this year, the TV will run on Android and will be compatible with the Play Store. Added to that, Philips will also offer their suite of custom applications to make life even better. Expect access to YouTube, Play Music and the usual applications, and Philips says that they will be powered by a capable quad core processor to ensure that we’re able to run all the games we know and love. As good as this sounds, I’m not quite sure of how we’ll play Angry Birds on the tv, but, I’m sure we’ll find out.
Another offering that caught our attention was a new line from Hisense, a popular Chinese manufacturer. These televisions come with 4K displays, the native installation of Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, Chrome, Pandora and YouTube and the usual bevy of connection ports and services. As Android users, we’re spoiled for choice, and we just can’t get enough of it. We’re not sure what the prices on these will be just yet, but Samsung and LG, huge players in the smart tv market, need to be on top of their game this year.
Consoles and Steam Machines for the Gamers
With the advent of the OUYA and the Shield, we have all dreamed of Android powered consoles that would take over our living rooms. The Tron, by Huawei, was introduced at CES, and bears striking resemblance to Apple’s recently announced Mac Pro. Yes, yes, the console is cylindrical and comes in black or white. It’s quite small though; a bit taller than the OUYA, but still considerably smaller than most other consoles today. The Tron runs on Android 4.2.3 and, unlike some other consoles which shall remain nameless, outputs 1080p video via HDMI. It contains a Tegra 4 processor, 2GB of memory, and comes with 16 or 32GB of storage. Bluetooth and WiFi, as expected, are present, and it is set to retail for about $120 in the mainland of China.
Valve, as we had hoped, made a splash at CES. The company announced its 13 Steam Machine partners along with specifications and price ranges. Hit this link for a full list of the machines and see what best suits your needs. Many of the offerings seem to be be causing a bit of a stir among the PC gaming community, and the machine by iBuyPower which features 8GB of memory, Quad core AMD or Intel processors, Radeon GCN Graphics and 500GB of storage for $499 has caught many an eye. Valve is set to make a splash this year as they wrestle with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo for the living room. Though many might proclaim doom and gloom for the ‘old guard’, I’m quite sure that there are enough living rooms to go around.
A great time was had by all. There was much to see, hear, touch and do. In the midst of the party however, there was one recurring theme. Linux in all its forms, (Android, Chrome OS and Steam OS) is taking over. We will use it, watch it, wear it, play with and drive with it. It’s not going to go away anytime soon; infact, it’s going to appear in even more places before long. Eric Schmidt said that mobile has already won, but I want to say that so too has Open Source Software. Like all great things before, it continues to adapt with change and remains flexible enough to compete, and not only compete, but to do so forcefully. The future remains a wide open and blank slate. It’s waiting to be written, waiting to be conquered, waiting to be shaped. A friend said recently that CES was a show about the future, and if that is so, then 80% of the future will be run by Linux.
Sources: CES 2014