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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

MIPS demo first Android set top box

MIPS Technologies has launched a series of demonstrations, partnerships and technologies aimed at making the Android mobile phone operating system a viable platform for digital home devices such as set-top boxes, Blu-ray Disc players, DTVs and VoIP solutions. This is a key move as it makes the ecosystem of Android applications already devloped for handsets available for consumer equipment. While some apps are location-based there are many others, particularly games, that can be used to enhance the performance of a system design. Because it was designed for the limited resources of smarphone it is a good match for consumer equipment.

During CES MIPS and partners are demonstrating the world’s first Android-based set-top boxes (STBs), Android running on a MIPS-based netbook, the world’s first social media centre for Android-based embedded platforms, and other key technologies.

 “MIPS is the number one architecture for the digital home, and our optimizations of the Android platform are critical for enabling our customers to deliver the next generation of products for the connected digital home and beyond,” said Art Swift, vice president of marketing for MIPS Technologies. “Together with our partners, we’ve made great progress in optimizing Android for a broad range of consumer devices. We’ve delivered a full HD experience to Android, and now we’re delivering multi-channel audio and enhanced user interfaces required for digital home devices. We anticipate seeing the first Android-based devices in our living rooms in 2010.”

Android-Based Set-top Box, Netbook and Social Media Centre

During CES, Western Mediabridge. and Sigma Designs will demonstrate the STB with video-on-demand, ThinkFree Office (Word, Spreadsheet, Presentation) viewer software, web browser, remote control/keyboard interface and 1080p video quality. "We anticipate there will be a lot of Android-based products and applications in the near future which will be connected to each other. Our belief is that the Android set-top box will be positioned as a main device among in-home Android-based multimedia devices. We will continue to add more applications, making a more feature-rich Android set-top box,” said Ernest Bang, president and CEO of Western Mediabridge.

MIPS will also demonstrate a prototype of an Android-based IPTV set-top box developed by KDDI R&D Labs. Inc., a subsidiary company of Japanese telecommunications carrier KDDI. The set-top box supports IPTV set-top box functionality such as multicasting, video-on-demand (VOD), remote control user interface, and digital rights management (DRM) requirements. The prototype is based on the highly-integrated MIPS-Based SMP8654 media processors from Sigma Designs. Dr. Hiroki Horiuchi, executive director, KDDI R&D Labs. Inc., said, “Android has the potential to be very successful in providing the next-generation internet-connected digital home platform.”

MIPS will also demonstrate the Lemote YeeLoong8089 netbook computer running Android, with browser capability and other applications. According to Lemote, the YeeLoong8089, powered by a MIPS-Based Loongson processor, is the world’s first laptop that contains completely free software.

In addition, MIPS will demonstrate ConnecTV, a new licensable software solution from Toronto-based  Home Jinni, billed as the world’s first social media centre for Android-based embedded platforms. Home Jinni offers residential automation solutions for end-user programming and control of the digital home, including an Android application framework for building UPnP, DLNA and DPWS home area network applications, and an Android framework for integrating the home with IMS and service provider networks. ConnecTV enables consumers to search, discover, categorize and enjoy online media content directly from a TV, and to communicate and share with friends from the comfort of their living room. It also enables control and distribution of media content throughout the home. ConnecTV will be demonstrated on a MIPS-Based platform from Sigma Designs.

According to Home Jinni’s CEO Shidan Gouran, “By embracing Android, MIPS Technologies has sparked a software revolution in consumer electronics which will lead to unprecedented time and cost savings in the product development life cycle. We are a testament to this. What we are showcasing with MIPS at CES is more than the new home entertainment hub; at its core, ConnecTV is a flexible and open application framework that completes Android as the operating system most suitable for the home.”
MIPS recently completed optimizations of Android 2.0 for the MIPS32 architecture. The code is available in open source through the MIPSAndroid community. For more information about the Android platform and MIPS, or to access the full source code for MIPS Technologies’ port of Android 2.0, including a reference binary and documentation.

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