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Always Innovating wants to make your dumb TV smart with a USB dongle

Posted at 03 March 2012 13:00 CET by Justin_Massoud

Would you pay a small fee to turn your average HDTV into a smart TV? Always Innovating hopes so. The San Francisco company showed off its HDMI Dongle, which adds Android 4.0 support to non-connected televisions, at this week’s Mobile Web Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Always Innovating debuted the project at this year’s CES, but this video, posted by Engadget, shows the Android Ice Cream Sandwich-powered dongle in action.

Once plugged into a set’s HDMI and USB port, it instantly adds the full Android ICS suite: the Android Market, game apps, email, web browsing, Netflix streaming and more. The device also comes with a remote that doubles as a motion-sensing game controller — transforming mobile-friendly single-player games like “Cut the Rope” into more family-focused multi-player experiences.

According to the site, Always Innovating won’t actually produce the device, but has already licensed out the all-in-one ICS stick’s technology, with third party manufacturers aiming to sell models for between $50 and $100 by year’s end.

Buying an expensive new smart TV might be a stupid move after all.

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There are 8 comments

Zzyzxroad
MyCE Senior Member
Posted on: 03 Mar 12 13:52
    Watched the video and was actually a little amazed. I have the LG smart bluray player and the WIFI dongle costed almost 100. The interface is crap, no remote for the games, and by the time the weather program loaded I could have turned on my computer.

    This dongle is going to cost between 50-99 dollars, and in comparison, comes with wifi, bluetooth and rf capabilities. Comes with an RF remote controller for navigation of apps and also as a game controller. I also liked the interface.
    debro
    Blown to smitherines
    Posted on: 04 Mar 12 11:59
      That's awsome!
      I love the tiny remote.

      I was considering building an AMD E350 based HTPC +BDRW for close to $500, but it looks like I can get two of these, rather than the old-hat software based solution, and have enough change left over for a pair of bluray players.
      Wombler
      Administrator & Reviewer
      Posted on: 04 Mar 12 13:31
        That's a clever idea.

        I can see a lot of people wanting something like that.


        Wombler
        BradWright
        MyCE Member
        Posted on: 04 Mar 12 18:12
          I wonder what this thing actually uses the USB port for (power maybe?). As far as I know, the only thing that can be done with my TV's USB port is upgrading the firmware with a thumb drive. I don't think it has any other uses, so I wonder if this would work on my TV. Any suggestions/advice from all you CE gurus?
          olyteddy
          Senior Moderator
          Posted on: 04 Mar 12 18:20
            http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/products/hdmidongle.htm The USB can actually be used for lots of things. They only license the little box, but I believe Vizio will be one of the first to rebrand and release one. Should give the Raspberry Pi a run for its money...
            Wombler
            Administrator & Reviewer
            Posted on: 04 Mar 12 19:05
              Quote:
              Originally Posted by BradWright
              I wonder what this thing actually uses the USB port for (power maybe?). As far as I know, the only thing that can be done with my TV's USB port is upgrading the firmware with a thumb drive. I don't think it has any other uses, so I wonder if this would work on my TV. Any suggestions/advice from all you CE gurus?
              According to the girl in the video it's for power.

              The guy in the videos on the page olyteddy linked to confirms it's for power only.

              You should watch those videos as well as I think this gadget looks impressive.


              Wombler
              BradWright
              MyCE Member
              Posted on: 04 Mar 12 19:35
                Quote:
                Originally Posted by Wombler
                According to the girl in the video it's for power.

                The guy in the videos on the page olyteddy linked to confirms it's for power only.

                You should watch those videos as well as I think this gadget looks impressive.


                Wombler
                Thanks. I didn't even notice the link for a video. Now that I've seen the video, this looks pretty good.
                debro
                Blown to smitherines
                Posted on: 04 Mar 12 21:19
                  Quote:
                  Originally Posted by Wombler
                  According to the girl in the video it's for power.

                  The guy in the videos on the page olyteddy linked to confirms it's for power only.

                  Wombler
                  The unit is anticipated to have a micro sd slot, and should be accessible via the usb.

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