market


Upcoming Android Gadgets at Blusens 9

LED TV Assembly Line

Last week I was invited by Miguel Silva Constenla to the Blusens HQ at Santiago de Compostela. Blusens is a Galician consumer electronics manufacturer with worldwide presence.

I had a great expectation because Miguel said that was going to show us their upcoming Android devices. He received us at their administrative office, but soon we went to their I+D facilities.

There I was impressed with a production line where their LED TVs are assembled, he also show us their logistic office (with their famous “Orgy of the Senses” poster), call center, repair center, and engineering offices. Finally we went to their showroom where their upcoming android devices were waiting.

First one is an 7″ Android tablet. This is a cheap low-end Android device with something different: a cover with an integrated keyboard. This keyboard is plugged by USB to the tablet. It will be available in about two months by about 160€.

CONS:

  • Resistive Touchscreen: Miguel said us that a capacitive touchscreen will increase the price about 50€, but the experience with the touchscreen was quite bad.
  • Android 2.x: (in the release date is going to be Android 2.3). This low-end devices do not support Honeycomb.

7" Blusens Android Tablet

  • Lack of Android Market: This device is not certified by Google so it cannot include the Android Market app. The ROM installed on  the prototype had the SlideMe market, but I don’t consider it an alternative. The solution is to install manually the Android Market (copying GoogleServicesFramework.apk and Vending.apk from other device to the /system/apps dir), but needs some Android knowledge…

PROS:

  • 160€ is a very low price, I think that this kind of devices are very appropriate for children or for people in countries where people cannot pay 400€ for a computer.
  • Elegant cover with embedded keyboard: great for fast text input, answering emails on the go, etc… Transforms the tablet in a kind-of-netbook and compensates the bad experience with the touchscreen.
  • Local repair center and customer support: you can buy a chinese tablet by this price, but you will not have the customer support and repair center in europe.

Blusens Android STB Prototype

The other device is an Android Set-top-box. Blusens has a great experience with their web:tv device and they are investigating to release a similar Android based device. They showed us a prototype running Android 2.2.

This device will include a remote with a complete keyboard and the pointer will work like the WiiMote, pointing with it to the TV. Some optional accessories will be a TV tuner and a webcam.

It seems an aggressive proposal when GoogleTV is not yet on the market, but I think that it’s great to have Android apps on the TV.They also have plans to integrate something similar to this device on their upcoming TV models.

Finally Miguel had a present for us: a Web:TV device! What I like of this device are the continuous firmware updates and HTML apps powered by a Webkit-based browser (ok! media player and PVR are also great features).


Find Android apps with AppBrain

One of the first things that you can notice after buying an Android phone is the great amount of mobile applications (apps) that you can download from the Android Market, but searching for a specific app can be very frustrating, and a time-consuming task.

This is due to one of the biggest problems of the Android Market: the lack of a complete web interface to query the applications avaiable, and AppBrain is an independent web (not affiliated with Google) where you can list, search, etc. those apps.

There are many similar webs: Cyrket, Bubiloop, but Appbrain has some features which make the difference:

  • You can sign-in on the web with your Google account
  • Apps can be queried by country, genre (of the user), age range, etc.
  • You can create list of apps and share it with your friends
  • There is an android app (search for AppBrain on the Android Market) to synchronize your mobile with appbrain, and once installed:
  • You can query the installed apps on your mobile
  • You can install apps from the web

And everything with a very simple and pretty interface, so don’t wait to try it:

http://www.appbrain.com