The hardware start-up Infinitec is yet another company who’s experimenting with sub-$100 ARM computers. But Infinitec is taking a slightly different approach this time, and instead of making their mini-computer run Linux or Android for your PC monitor, they’re optimizing the device to work with your TV, so you can turn any TV into a “smart TV”. This project has been so well received, that they’ve reached their funding goal of $100,000 within a week. Now they are at $160,000, and they still have 29 days to go.
The “Pocket TV” is made up of 1 Ghz Cortex A9 CPU, a Mali400 GPU (same as in Galaxy S2), 4 GB of internal storage, microSD slot, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 1 USB 2.0 port, and HDMI, which will be used to stream videos of up to 1080p. You can see the whole spec list below:
The final price for the Pocket TV will be $160, but people who donate on Kickstarter can get it for only $110. If you’re looking for a competitor’s product you can check out Cotton Candy, which has a slightly faster CPU, and twice as much RAM (1 GB).
I do think there’s one problem with the Pocket TV, though. It features the stock Android 4.0 OS and UI, which is only suited for smartphones and tablets. An ideal match would’ve been the Pocket TV and the Google TV OS, which lately has been pretty optimized for the TV size.
Unfortunately, Google hasn’t open sourced Google TV yet, as it’s still based on Honeycomb, which they never open sourced. So until Google uses ICS or JellyBean for the next version of Google TV (which might be unveiled at Google I/O), none of these manufacturers will have a true smart TV OS, unless they customize the Android OS themselves. For the $160 price, we should also start seeing set top boxes with a lot more powerful processors, and with the official version of Google TV. If you’re considering something like this for your TV, you’re better off waiting until Google I/O.