Android tablet with HDMI output / cable instead of a screen and USB sockets.
Didn’t quite believe it when I placed the order, but … Wow!
Anyone out there who thinks they can sell a media center for 100+ with crappy media apps (yes Samsung!) better be thinking twice
A Quick visit to Google Play store and I have FF on a 50" plasma … which means sitting 2m from the telly typing on a wireless USB keyboard, without needing glasses …
And I have full / perfectly smooth 1080p playback from YouTube … I think BBC player and Netflix are still catching up re; quality, but they’re quite usable.
(yup, that’s right, 45 quid and full access to Google store for apps … and it’s Android 4.0.4
I think dual core with Android 4.3 would obviously be much better … but looking at the price point, there are going to be a fair few manufacturers who should probably just pack up and go home now
Device I have (and there are others!) is from JUSTOP via Amazon …
I take it you mean this one:
That webpage suggests it has an RJ45 ethernet port as well as wireless … is that correct ? … 100TX ?
Yeh, SeZo and I have been seriously considering such a box ourselves for some time now … but we’ve been waiting for an ideal spec which we’ve loosely defined, part of which is the ability to run full Linux … as you say there are millions of them out there, and the price is still dropping (seems to have settled around the £40 - £70 mark, but the spec keeps improving).
Here’s the topic:
If you’re up for it, I’d be very interested in a writeup (after a week or so’s use) to know what it can and can’t do … mainly targeted at how much it (Android) could/has replace your PC for everyday tasks … remember, I STILL haven’t used Android :-[
Not that it’s likely to stop me looking for one that wlll run full Linux … but it would be nice to know how useful these boxes are out-of-the-box.
Yup, RJ45 “and” WiFi, scary eh?!
For the sorts of things you would do on a media centre, Android UI is “better” than KDE or GNOME, so barring coding / hacking etc, you wouldn’t actually want to put a full version of Linux on one of these boxes. I know, before I bought my first Android phone the only thing I was really concerned about was whether I could unlock it and load up OpenVPN/ssh … but I was missing the point. These boxes aren’t for remote support, nor would they typically be used in locations where you couldn’t (and indeed wouldn’t) have a proper PC handy for that sort of thing … indeed on reflection I’d never really do any critical support work on a phone … you can’t get half way through rebooting a server then lose 3G, not good.
Anyway, one of the main strengths of Android is the App Store, which you only get with Android … seriously, you wouldn’t sacrifice all the goodies on there in favour of Ubuntu … never happen.
So, realistically, Apple et al are dead in the water. Anyone wanting to sell their own dedicated media boxes and own app stores etc (like Samsung’s for example) have all been completely undermined … it’s going to take a little while for some people to catch up, but phones aside, I think this is the making of Android.
Could the device be better, absolutely, it could have a dual or quad core processor and it could have Android 4.3.
Would I pay twice the amount for the quad core running 4.3, absolutely.
Is the box I have worth £45, no, it’s worth WAY more. Seriously, the HDMI cable I use to plug my Blue-Ray surround sound into my telly cost more than the Andriod unit ‘complete’, and the Android unit comes WITH an HDMI cable … and an optional audio cable … and a power transformer … and a remote control … and batteries!! for 45 quid!! You can’t get a cased Raspberry PI for £45 quid, and this is a quality case, albeit the site of a fag packet … <fx: wonders if the internals are actually a raspberry PI>
Quick review, I have spent a fair bit of time on it now;
- Stablility - 100%
- Availability of apps that work on the device, good
- Browsers, Firefox for Android Works, Chrome, not presently
- Two USB ports so you can run a keyboard AND webcam (for Skype)
- Some apps should be avoided, in particular Google+, Google Magazines and Google Books - excessive CPU
- YouTube, flawless 1080p playback
- IMDB, flawless 720p playback
- Netflix, lower resolution, these guys seriously need to catch up
- LoveFilm/Sky, still no Android player (at all), but the LoveFilm browsing App works
- BBC iPlayer, works but resolution isn’t great, these guys need to catch up too!
- ITV player, looks like Adobe AIR isn’t compatible with the device, this will come …
- General google integration, Music, GMail, Maps, Earth etc etc, all good.
- Angry Birds in Space - superb, but the Ads interface can be a pain if you hit the wrong key
- General Android 4.x System settings etc etc, it’s all there, even the live wallpaper!
Hmm, seriously tempted … thinks to myself “maybe I can drop hints to the Mrs for Xmas”
Then possibly turn the Pi into an rsync backup of my NAS … it’s bugging me that the NAS isn’t backed up.
And Google Movies makes Sky box office look a little sad …