RCA Android TV showcased, Samsung might be next

Monday, January 10, 2011, 15:04 by Tech Correspondent

Due out later this year is RCA’s RLC3291 Android TV: A 42-inch full HDTV that runs Android 2.2 Froyo.

At the CES 2011 demo, the Android TV prototype by RCA was seen controlled by the TV’s usual remote control, though RCA plans to sell a QWERTY keyboard and a touchpad too when its Android TV hits the markets in April.

The Froyo part of the RCA machine effectively works as a computer and is particularly useful for browsing the Internet, writing e-mails, playing online games, etc. The menu resembles a bigger version of a regular Android smartphone. About the pricing, the only thing RCA has said is that “it won’t cost much more” than a typical RCA TV of the same size, reports pcmag.com.

rca android tv prototype photo

Photo: RCA Android TV prototype

RCA’s RLC3291 also has USB ports for playing media from an external device. RCA Android TV, in addition, supports Flash 10.1 and is compatible with the Digital Living Network Alliance, which means that devices of many firms, such as the Galaxy S smartphone from Samsung will be able to run apps to control the Android TV.

RCA may be launching its Android TV without a partnership with Google, but  CES 2011 gave us reason to believe that more Google TVs are on the way. Among the companies in line to launch Google TVs is Samsung, which already has Google powered smartphones and tablets and has even produced the latest flagship Android 2.3 Gingerbread smartphone, Google Nexus S.

Samsung’s Google TV is waiting for South Korean content providers to give their approval before it can be launched, Yoon Boo Keun, a Samsung executive, told Bloomberg news. He also said that Samsung is working on proprietary software to run on both phones and televisions. The company has already developed an OS for smartphones called Bada.

Toshiba too has plans to launch a Google TV and Sony has announced that it will release a 46-inch Android-based HDTV running on an Intel Atom chip this year. Related: Sony’s Internet TV with Google

Meanwhile, Scandinavian company People of Lava is selling Android TVs at 42, 47 and 52 inches which use Samsung Cortex A8 processors. These Google-based televisions aren’t official Google TVs but nevertheless use Android because it gives them access to TV-like services perhaps partly through the Android App Market where there are widgets for YouTube, Netflix, Kindle, etc. Because these devices use processors of the kind that traditional PCs use, they can perform a lot of the functions that PCs can – such as supporting USB ports or multi tasking and tabbed browsing.

The launch of Google TV was scheduled for earlier this year, but was deferred so that the company could install some new apps on the OS. (Read more: Google TV not ready in time for CES 2011) There is no information on when the OS and service will be launched, but when it is, it will support video conferencing through the televisions. Because of this, Google TV might be launched as early as the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona next month.