Android Based ARM Powered TV Platform Coming Soon

January 19, 2011
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We have heard through the digital grapevine that an Android based, ARM powered, Google TV platform is coming soon.The Android/Google TV will be powered by anywhere from an ARM9 to ARM11 CPU, and be highly customizable. No word on what version of Android we can expect to see on there, but it will have the following features:

  • Wifi a/b/g/n for streaming from computer or DLNA device
  • Video playback up to 1080p resolution via HDMI
  • Eventually all ARM platforms and setups should be compatible

ARM President Tudor Brown has publicly stated that “If Google TV is to be mainstream, it must be built on a lower power system…on lower cost technology.” This much is undoubtedly true.

Most recently, an unofficial and confirmed jailbreak on Google TV was achieved. TV Networks are not happy with Google trying to steal their tightly controlled show. TV Networks blocked Google TV because the Flash Plugin officially announced itself in the browser to be a Google TV user agent. Jailbreaking allowed a hacked Flash Plugin that cannot be detected by websites. What’s the big deal?

Considering that Google doesn’t want to cannibalize the sales of the existing Intel powered Google TV boxes such as the Logitech Revue, the stuff from Sony and the upcoming Google TV solutions from Vizio, Toshiba, Samsung, Sharp, LG and others, some of which are allegedly ARM Powered. We expect the official announcement to be made in a relatively short time.

That being said, we won’t hold our breath. Judging from the pace of development and mass implementation of Gingerbread right now, it could take some time before we see a product in our hands. Additionally, we don’t anticipate it will be as beautiful or as seamless an experience as Apple TV.

Google TV had the potential to be great, but that’s really all it is – potential. Allegedly, there have been serious framerate and audio issues as well. Furthermore, Google hasn’t exactly demonstrated the most beautiful UX (user experience) design in its current offerings of Android.

A sub-$100 ARM Powered Google TV Set-top-box could be one of the greatest things to happen to TV since it was introduced over eight decades ago. The revolution will happen in the form of bringing an affordable sub-$100 box that provides a simplistic, yet beautiful User Interface (UX). Every user wants to have one click access to all of the wonderful and abundant streaming content that exists on the internet. Is it really too much to ask for? We all want instant access every video ever made. It would provide a great platform for any video maker to instantly broadcast on a platform where people can find exactly the type of content they are looking for. It’s hard to believe, but the average person watches nearly five hours of TV per day. Even better is the idea that people will be able to easily rate the quality of content they have just watched, further allowing the good quality stuff to rise to the top for the viewing pleasure of everyone involved.

Despite some recent hacking on the Google TV platform, the modified version of Android has remained a fairly closed system since its release last fall. Part of this is due to it being one of the only versions of Android designed to run on x86 CPU architecture with Intel chips powering the current lineup of GTV devices. The big news is that we now have word from inside Google that a version of the software is in the works that would be compatible with ARM-based processors, much like the rest of the Android world.

We absolutely love the idea, and have contacted one of the first manufacturers to be dabbling in releasing them. More Android, more innovation, on more devices is a very good thing in our eyes.

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