The Android platform has proved itself quite adaptable for applications beyond powering phones. We have seen Android powering netbooks and ebook readers. According to Android Guys, at this years Consumer Electronics Show, MIPS Technologies will be announcing an initiative to use Android to power a wide variety of devices including VOIP phones, Blu-Ray Players and Set Top Boxes.
While the move of Android from CDMA and GSM cellular phones to VOIP handhelds is not surprising. Google has already included support for VOIP in current versions of the Android OS. Therefore porting Android to a VOIP phone does not involve major re-engineering to make it an excellent platform for high end SIP phones.
Android has not been used to power Blu-Ray players or a STB. Typically Android has been installed on devices controlled by touch interfaces, not remote controls. The first batch of these devices will be unveiled this week at CES. One device, produced by Western Mediabridge and Sigma Designs, will include traditional STB features such as video on demand and full HD as well as a web browser, productivity suite and support for keyboards as well as remote controls. Another Android based STB, produced by KDDI R&D Labs will have a similar feature set in an STB designed for IPTV. This box will reportedly include support for at least one DRM standard.
When Android begins to find its way into devices beyond the cellular phone, we are likely to see a change in the types of interactions we have with our phones. With both the STB and your phone running the same platform, communications between the two should become markedly less complicated. Controlling your DVR, watching stored content or even live TV directly from your Android phone, regardless of location, should soon be a reality and the possibilities for new features are quite extensive.