HDMI Dongle Converts Any TV into Android Smart TV
This USB stick-sized micro-computer will turn an HDMI-capable TV into an Android 4.0-based TV that can download apps, play movies off a microSD card and more.
Startup company Infinitec has introduced the Pocket TV, an Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) based HDMI dongle that converts any HDTV into a Smart TV. It's essentially a thumb-sized micro-computer packed with a 1 GHz Cortex A9 SoC, a Mali-400MP GPU, 512 MB of RAM, a USB 2.0 port, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and a microSD card slot (for up to 32 GB of storage) that's capable of transforming a TV into a mega-sized tablet -- only without the touchscreen capabilities, of course.
"You can download apps from the Google Play Store to stream videos, play games, connect with your friends on Facebook, catch up on news, do some work or simply surf the web," the company said on Thursday. "You can even attach a video camera to do Skype video-calls on your TV. "
One of Infinitec's big selling points with its new gadget is portability. Not only can end-users stream video, listen to music, get the latest news or check the latest Facebook feeds at home on their big screen TV, but they can take all of that content on the go by simply stuffing the dongle into their pocket, and then plug it into the HDMI port of a hotel TV. Executives won't even need to take their laptop, as they could plug the Pocket TV into the projector and stream a presentation from the cloud (like a Dropbox account) or locally from the SD Card.
To control Pocket TV, Infinitec has thrown a standard IR Remote into the package. It uses an infrared signal and gives consumers the ability to control the Pocket TV interface using the up, down, side arrows and several buttons. There's also an optional Air Remote which features a gyroscope sensor that allows the user to control Pocket TV simply by moving it around like a Wii controller. Move a hand up, down or sideways, and the cursor on the screen will follow.
"If you want you can also use your iPhone or Android smartphone to control the Pocket TV," the company said. "Just download the Google Remote TV app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store and your phone will become your remote. We’re also working on our own app for your phone with some very cool features."
The USB 2.0 port allows consumers to add an external hard drive, a wireless keyboard and mouse or a video camera for video calls. Pocket TV can even be connected to any standard TV as long as it has an HDMI port (or an attached HDMI converter box), and is capable of displaying up to 1080p. The only drawback to this gadget is that it needs to be plugged into a power outlet via a miniUSB port, and that the IR camera for the remote needs to be draped across the top of the TV.
Recently surpassing over $100,000 in pledges, the Pocket TV can be pre-ordered for a limited pre-order price of $99 (regular price $160) right here. As seen in the video below, the company actually used a 4-port USB hub so that they could use multiple USB devices. How users will be able to play Angry Birds with the IR Remote is unknown, if possible at all.