UpdatedGoogle's Android Makes Set-top Box Debut


Android LogoUpdated with corrections: Motorola denied that it is working on such a set-top box. Please read the following post for complete details.

Last fall, I asked the question: Where will Android go next? For while Google’s (s goog) mobile-oriented, lightweight operating system has been linked with netbooks and various other devices, we thought Android would be ideal for Internet video-focused set-top boxes. Motorola (s MOT) apparently thought so, too, and was said to be working on an Android-based set-top box. Today, Information Week confirms that rumor. Motorola is indeed working on a device called auBox that will be used by Japanese communications giant KDDI. It will be able to play DVDs, CD and will feature a full-fledged Chrome-type browser. While it’s not clear when the device will come to market, there is some serious momentum behind Google’s Android OS. As I said earlier this year, Android could be the OS for a whole new generation of devices — the proverbial fourth screen. Update: A reader lets us know that Motorola does ship auBoxes in Japan but they use a different flavor of Linux OX and will be transitioning to Android.



Interesting! i look forward to seeing this. I can already imagine the possibilities…

John Matthews

How about an Android implementation of Boxee, that could cause some ripples among network and cable TV operators in the US if Android inside settop boxes started to appear in the US market.

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Thanks for the great news Om! FINALLY, the internet and television are combining. I am sure you will be showing us plenty more Android powered devices in the near future that not only bring us internet to nearly every facet of our lives, but also makes the information in our lives seamless as well.

– Jason Nadaf

Ashu Joshi

The story also appeared on CNET on April 13th. From what I understand in talking to contacts in Japan, the dates on commercial availability are not clear. Here is the link of the CNET article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10218607-94.html

Android has to go through significant optimization for a Set Top Box (STB) – for example – the video decoding happens on the SoC (System on Chip). Wonder if Android has been customized as much by Motorola?

Avi Telyas

Some clarifications are needed:
The au Box is already available in the Japanese Market and has reached more than 100,000 subscribers; running Linux based on KreaTV platform (acquired by Motorola).
It seems Motorola consider migrating to Android.


Om Malik

Thanks Avi for that additional information. It is good to get that little detail in the story. I have updated to reflect that.


This is just the beginning. The proverbial iPhone lead over Android will continue to stay only for phone users (due to its vastly superior usability engineering) but Android is going to power ahead in market penetration in the ‘one application many devices market’. We’ve been using Android for a whole bunch of stuff and it makes the original thought of ‘quad-play’ (you know, you are watching TV on your cell phone, walk into the house, a ‘handover’ is done and the game continues on HD in your den) etc. much simpler. You build one application, engineer it for different form-factors and add the option of using external GPUs when available and bingo, a plug-in system.

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