While smart TV sets may be notable that some are able to receive video from portable devices and vice-versa, American company iPPea (along with MIPS Technologies) are looking to go one better with the ‘portability factor’, creating a $50 Android-powered smart TV product the same size as a USB memory stick.
The new product released by the pair is iPPea TV (currently only available on iPPea’s website), powered by the Android 4.0 ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ operating system, and coming in the form of a ‘dongle’ that can connect to any ‘HDMI-enabled DTV’.
Running similarly standardised system specifications as rival set-top boxes, iPPea contains Wi-Fi connection support and 2GB direct storage (alongside an additional 32GB storage via a microSD slot) and support for popular video formats including 1080pHD, all whilst connected through a USB slot on the target TV.
This feature enables the device to be plugged in and set up to any supporting device quickly and easily, with features on the system including connected streaming and use of video and audio, internet browsing, apps, games, and social media websites, designed by the company as features that can be obtained through the pocket-sized device as opposed to a more expensive smart TV or connected set-top box.
iPPea’s CEO Amanda Senkowski said of the developments: “The tiny iPPea TV is a fully-functioning Android super micro PC that connects to the cloud, accesses a broad range of websites and apps, and delivers a high-quality entertainment experience. We are delighted to be using the MIPS-Based Ingenic processor, which provides all of the advantages of an industry-standard architecture, including a broad ecosystem of supporting tools and software. And because of its inherent power efficiency, the device can be fully powered by a standard USB port – such as those available on most DTVs. Also, unlike many competitive PC offerings, no heat sink is necessary in the iPPea TV device.”
MIPS Technologies’ marketing vice-president Gideon Intrater added: “With our high-performance processor cores, MIPS has long been a leader in home entertainment products including DTVs and set-top boxes. Because of the extremely low power consumption of the MIPS architecture, we have also worked successfully with licensees and OEMs to bring affordable Android 4.0 tablets to emerging markets. We applaud iPPea for leveraging the performance and power efficiency of the MIPS architecture to create a device that represents the future of affordable connected consumer entertainment.”
Chinese company Ingenic Semiconducter were in charge of providing the CPU on the product, as their CEO Quiang Liu summarised: “The high-performance, ultra-low power XBurst CPU is the driving force inside millions of portable electronics devices. As multi-screen entertainment gains in popularity, it just makes sense that our technology is now also powering home entertainment devices that can deliver a connected TV experience to the mass market. We are pleased to continue our successful collaboration with MIPS Technologies in enabling innovative, cost-effective consumer entertainment devices.”
The most notable feature of the new product is the high functionality despite its small size, joining other dongle devices such as Pocket TV and Liquid TV. But will the resulting cheap cost draw in a large number of customers, or will the tiny physical size turn people off under the fear of losing their smart TV?