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€.
- 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.
- Lack of Android Market: This device is not certified by Google and then it cannot include the Android Market app (among other things, because it would need hardware buttons: this tablet has software buttons are placed on the notify bar). 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…
- 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.
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).