January 9, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
Android was intended to work as a platform for mobile devices, but the “phone” OS has expanded to products far beyond that scope. California-based MIPS Technologies is doing some amazing things to showcase how far Android can be pushed in non-smartphone areas. From netbooks to set-top boxes and entertainment devices, MIPS has built an Android-based framework that other companies can use to develop their products.
I met up with members of the company to learn more about what they have planned and see a few product demos. Below is a video showing Home Jinni ConnecTV, a concept set-top box that uses Android to control media device convergence.
From the meeting, I also gathered some other interesting information
- Though it takes extra work to enable Android on devices, MIPS utilizes it because it gives a virtualized platform that adds new features with fewer concerns about reliability. Consider that Microsoft has trouble with some applications because they cannot test every program across every operating system. Android “sandboxes things,” so the core functioning remains in tact when problems arise. If an application crashes, it does so “elegantly and you can quit a particular application and the rest of the machine is untouched.”
- Technology is already in place to have Android apps work on set-top boxes or netbooks using MIPS technology; it’s up to OEM’s to implement them. Therefore, a company could build an entertainment device designed for TV but have support to run media streaming apps like Pandora or Slacker Radio.
- While discussing trends and upcoming products, a MIPS employee suggested that at the next CES, there’s a possibility that we could see television sets with even more integration between apps and Android. Twitter support for commenting while watching TV, getting email notifications on-screen, or even using your Android phone as a remote.