It has been an interesting week for Android TV. With Google I/O taking place last week, it was expected that some announcements would come through on Android TV and they did. Nothing major mind you, but announcements none the less. What does seem to have been the biggest announcement, or at least the one which garnered the most attention was the confirmation that Xiaomi is entering the Android TV fray. There option is called the Xiaomi Mi Box.
So what do we know about the Mi Box? Well, we don’t know for sure how much it will be priced, but Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra did make it clear that the price will not exceed $200. We also don't know when it will become available, although our best guess would be Q3 of this year. So in the next few months. However, we do know most of the specs about what is on offer and so the Xiaomi Mi Box will come equipped with 2GB RAM, 8GB internal storage and is powered by a Quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor with a Mali 450 GPU. We also know that it will come with support for 4K and HDR (most relevant to Android N) and will also offer support for Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Surround Sound support. The Mi Box does come with its own remote controller and there is a Mi Game Controller available as well, although this will be a separate purchase – which again, we have no details on the likely price yet.
However, as is the world of Android TV, nothing is ever straightforward and within the same week when a new major Android TV device is announced, one is taken away. As this week also saw the news coming through that the iconic Nexus Player has left the building. Of course, we have covered extensively the slowing down of the availability of the Nexus Player over the past six months and so it will not come as much of a surprise that the Nexus Player has finally and officially retired. Although, it is somewhat ironic. Android TV is a platform which certainly needs a much greater variance of devices to not only attract more consumers, but to also fuel competition. So in the week when a fourth major Android TV box is released, it is strange that one of the staples is also taken away. So while we gained a device, we now find ourselves back in the same situation with only three devices to choose from. Although, with the Xiaomi Mi Box not set to arrive for the next few months, we actually find ourselves down to only two Android TV boxes that you can buy today, the NVIDIA SHIELD and the Razer Forge TV. Although, most will likely agree – there is not much of a choice there at the moment as the Forge TV offers little over the NVIDIA SHIELD. Still, there is always the fall to come and the possibility of a new 2016 Nexus Player.