Android on the big screen?

Thoughts By 6 years ago

We are currently forming our team to build Android Apps. In an interview with a candidate yesterday as we were talking all things Android, the candidate made an interesting point, “Android will be on most TV sets shortly”.

This is a game changing statement when a key part of our business is mobile, we build software for mobile operating systems and these same OS’s are now being integrated to the most immobile of large screen TV’s.

So what is the state of the nation when it comes to mobile operating systems on the big screen:

Set Top Boxes

  • Android TV – Developed by Chinese manufacturer Geniatech, it is essentially a set top box powered by Android 2.2 Froyo. Connects via WiFi to the web and delivers web content over a familiar Android interface. Content sources are still a little vague, but users will be able to install Android Apps. Not to be confused with Google TV.
  • Google TV – Manufactured by Logitech in partnership with Google, it offers the same internet experience you would expect but with a few treats from Google. The new Youtube app looks nice (although I have always despised Youtube on Apple TV and PS3), Netflix integration and access to Native TV Android Apps are nice too. It seems Google has really put a solid investment into the platform as a whole, so this would be the best bet for a big screen Android experience.
  • DGTEC??? WTF! – Once Aldi Supermarket starts selling Android boxes in Australia, you know the value of the platform will be about as exciting as mouldy bread. Yes it will display Android is the crappest possible way with sub par electronics. Like those crap Nintaus DVD players that skipped or crashed when changing scenes and layers on a disk. Grrrrrr not happy seeing this as I write my post!

Im going to stop here. I was going to continue looking at TV’s, Blue ray, in-car Android devices, but I’m annoyed. Seeing a DGTEC Android set top box at a discount supermarket is terrible. It explains why there is, and will continue to be so much garbage on the Android Market. Litterally anyone can build Android enabled hardware however crap it is, and as for apps the same applies.

It really sucks for Android peeps, you will continue to get more cheap, flappy, plastic experiences on the Android Platform.

We will endeavour as a leading developer to enhance the experience of the platform by offering beautiful Apps, but guess what? More cheap crap devices will hit the marker powered by Android, each will have stupid specs like non standard resolutions, sub par processors and memory. The result is a crap experience for all. Ill try and continue my post when I cool down.

  • Chris

    Given that ALDI isn’t supplying the DGTEC device until 5. November, 2011, I think that your comments about it may be a little premature.

    • Let me know your thoughts if you buy one Chris. I will endeavour to review some of these systems too.

  • Chris

    Josh,
    the box is even worse than you suspected! It does not even work properly as a settop box, not to mention as an Android system. It has no Flash support and no Android Market support, and many non-market apps seem to install ok but then do not run properly.

    I can’t think why Aldi chose to sell such a poor quality product.

    Chris.

  • Richard

    I bought one of these devices from Aldi. iTV & iRadio work reasonably well. I can stream movies wirelessly from my laptop and can browse the web through my TV.
    This box cost me $79. The word BARGAIN springs to mind. I see that Josh says: “Devices Owned: iPad, iPhone 4, 3GS, 3G, Touch 1G, BB Bold and Android Tablet”.
    Not short of money, are you Josh? What new toys have you recently bought that come in at $79? Your statements are following Microsoft mantras of “Give me more processing power”, or Apples “It has to look pretty”.
    Why should an Android app have huge resource requirements? I still run a windows 3.0 with office pro environment on a laptop with an 80mb hard drive/25MB RAM, and it WORKS. (Although admittedly it could do with a better medium than floppy disk).

    Rant over. The box works and works well. Write your apps accordingly.

    Or take a job at Apple.

    • Hey Richard,
      Thanks for the rant 😉 to clarify my suite of devices including a first generation touch are to make sure our apps function on as many devices as possible for you. I completely advocate better designed apps for past gen devices. But you can’t ignore nice enhancements like near field comms not on older devices.

      Latest device I bought, apple tv for $90 off eBay.

      Based on Chris’s feedback on the box (I don’t own one), there is no flash support and apps do not function. This might be a bargain but if the goal is to stream media, why not use a video adaptor to your pc? This would enable flash and stream.