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Two Unannounced Nexus Devices Tipped In Android Changelog, Including Set-Top Box

Discussion in 'Google TV General Discussion' started by CatfishRivers, May 9, 2014.

  1. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Two unannounced Nexus devices tipped in Android changelog, including a set-top box ? Tech News and Analysis (click for full article)

    by Kif Lewing - May 9, 2014

    Summary: Android 4.4.3, the upcoming bug fix release for Android, had a changelog pushed on Friday that names two new Nexus devices, Flounder and Molly. Molly appears to be a set-top box.


    See more at: Two unannounced Nexus devices tipped in Android changelog, including a set-top box ? Tech News and Analysis
     
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  2. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    The following article contains some more details. Apparently the set-top box has a NVIDIA Tegra processor:


    Google TV Codenamed "Molly" Appears in Android 4.4.3 Changelog | Androidheadlines.com


    Hopefully Google will officially announce their Nexus KitKat set-top box at Google I/O on June 25/26th. I wonder what the implications will be for the upcoming Hisense Pulse Pro set-top box? How will the 2 boxes compare in features? Obviously hardware wise the Nexus box will probably be a better 'deal'. I believe Google will follow Amazon's strategy and offer their Nexus box at approximately break-even on the hardware.

    If the Pulse Pro doesn't come with KitKat OS - and unless the Google Nexus box is markedly different in features - If I'm Hisense I'd be tempted to say "what's the use" and scrub the release of the Pulse Pro.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
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  3. Travel

    Travel Active Member

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    Wonder if this is an upscale game box with Google services (including a Chrome browser), competing with the X Box1 and PS4, or a "simple box" competing with FireTV, or a new GoogleTV Box like the Pulse Pro?

    Interesting comment about the processor. Know anything about the Tegra k1 processor?

    It'd be great if this turns out to be a GoogleTV, Google-made-hardware box; that's what the write-up seems to be trending towards in it's chosen description, but there doesn't seem to be anywhere near enough info available to make that jump to a conclusion
     
  4. Travel

    Travel Active Member

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    Here's a good article on the Tegra k1 processor, just written on May 1st.
    The second half of the article talks specifically about the k1 chip.

    It comes with 2GB RAM/quad core. Definitely plenty of "game power," but it also fits-in well the trend (or necessity) of advanced GPU power as seen in the Pulse Pro to accommodate the Jelly Bean/KitKat update and beyond. If Google puts-out a box with this Tegra k1 in it, it really would blow the doors off the Pulse Pro.

    Nvidia $192 Tegra TK1 board could be used as a Linux gaming PC | PCWorld
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
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  5. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    The thing is we don't know for sure which NVIDIA Tegra chip the Nexus set-top box will have. If it has the new Tegra K1 chip it will have a lot more horsepower than Amazon's Fire TV (which has a Snapdragon 600 chip). But it would likely cost quite a bit more than $99. Maybe $199?

    If the Nexus box has a Tegra 4 chip then the horsepower is more along the lines of the Snapdragon 600 chip in the Amazon Fire TV - and the price would likely be in the same ballpark as the Fire TV.

    My guess is that the Nexus box won't be a traditional GTV box - but a box focusing on gaming with support for the Google Play market. So the Hisense Pulse Pro and the Google Nexus box will co-exist. I'm still not sold on the belief that the Hisense Pulse Pro box will be a money-maker for Hisense though.


    NVIDIA Tegra K1 benchmarked: Competitive with Celeron Bay Trail - Liliputing
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
  6. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Flounder, Molly, TV and HTC: Google I/O 2014 gets fishy - SlashGear

    From the article:

    -- "Molly" gave several references to a Google TV reboot, and a device that is geared toward gaming. There were several mentions of an NVIDIA chipset, which would likely be a Tegra 4 or Tegra 4i. Both of those are heavily geared toward gaming, but the clues don't stop there. There were also several mentions of pairing to a game controller, suggesting this new set-top box will have its own game controller like the Fire TV from Amazon.


    Conclusion


    Here's what we know: Flounder and Molly are types of fish, and they're also devices being tested by Google. Flounder is made by HTC, and Molly is branded as a Google device. It's very possible Google is actually making the device, as they have Nest to deal with their hardware desires now, but we're not confident in saying Nest has begun work on a set-top box.


    We also know that Molly either has or will work with specific controllers, and there were several mentions of both 64-bit and 64 bit in the code. Neither device is finished, and both are still undergoing kernel changes. The code pages have been removed, so Google is actively working to keep these devices under wraps.


    Here's what we don't know: everything else.


    It's comfortable to say Molly is a new Google TV or maybe Android TV device. We're not clear on Google's aspirations there, but it's going to sit next to your TV, and likely be geared toward gaming and entertainment. If it does more than that, we'll hopefully find out at I/O this June.
     
  7. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    The hardware hardly matters as long as Google draws from something from the current or previous generation. They're not going to compete with the PS4/XBox which have both settled on x86 architecture and scads of RAM and hard disks to ease development. The Android Game market is going to be driven by the phone/tablet market, so they just wouldn't want to start too too far behind.

    A $200 streaming/game box hitting the market would be stillborn, so, forget that. I've got to think they've learned from their past mistakes. They have little choice but shove as much as they can in to the box and try to hit the $100 price point. Rather than try to create a new market for a gaming device, just ride the market they've already got.
     
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  8. ericd

    ericd Active Member

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    I agree, any new box over $120, regardless of the processor or OS, is doomed. If Google were to come out with an updated Android TV box with a keyboard remote (or USB support for one), full voice recognition, HDMI pass-through, running Android 4.4 and full Playstore support for under $120, I'd definetly be in. Anything short of that won't even be a blip on my radar. The $100 price point will be hard to hit without some serious performance concessions
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
  9. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    That sounds like a refreshed Google TV, and the smoke signals seem to indicate we're not going to get that. HDMI passthrough is a frill/expense that the other contenders don't try to support, and for the sake of simplicity I don't expect a keyboard remote; but there's no reason it shouldn't be able to support one as an ad-on. Certainly, voice recog is in Google's wheel house.

    Full Play Store support would be huge, and is so simple to do, but I fear Google won't deliver for either the sake of the content providers and/or because they don't want Apps not designed for the device to run on it and confuse customers. Of course if the only concern was the later, they could just add a check box that let the customer choose if they want to see Apps not specifically flagged for the product.

    As for price, Amazon has shown how to do it, and Google can rationalize doing the same for their eco system.
     
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  10. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    I read a few more tidbits of information in the code before Google removed it - and you are correct the controller doesn't have a keyboard. Also there is support for several kinds of DRM - meaning the box will most likely be marketed as an entertainment/gaming device. IMO the box will likely have the Tegra 4 chip and more closely resemble the Amazon Fire TV than GTV.

    Also if the Nexus TV was a super-duper GTV at an unbelievable price - Google would in essence be driving away third party OEMs from doing much of anything with a GTV box.

    I believe Google wants to try and keep what we now know as GTV alive with third party OEMs. So IMO the "spin" will be that this Nexus box is for a specific market (gaming with entertainment) - while the GTV platform is for full market access, browser, HDMI pass-through etc. Google will contend that there is a market for everything. I don't really agree but they did the same thing with Chromecast. They said Chromecast was aimed at a different market and wouldn't impede GTV. Others really wanted a super-duper GTV with Chromecast built right in to GTV - but apparently that isn't happening.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
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  11. Travel

    Travel Active Member

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    Back when Google bought Green Throttle Google buys Green Throttle Games, fuelling 'Nexus TV' speculation | Technology | theguardian.com I thought that this could be a sign that Google was getting into the game box market with Microsoft and Sony( the article did mention that Google could be intending to develop a console), but then the FireTV box came out with a game oriented capability, and it then looked a lot more like Google's "game interest" is probably in the "simple box" market, competing with FireTV.

    This latest article about the "codechange" is somewhat misleading in that the interpretation by the writer seems to be suggesting a full blown GoogleTV box with the Tegra K1 "superchip." But, yes, that does seem overwhelmingly unlikely and ,as you say, the device in question will probably be built with the game-oriented Tegra 4 for a FireTV-like "simple box."

    The Green Throttle game controller (click article link, above) could be what Google has in mind for a NexusTV box that competes with the FireTV box (which also competes with Roku and AppleTV).
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
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  12. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I hardly consider HDMI input with overlay an expensive frill. If you want internet TV combined with a traditional TV source in a meaningful way, I now consider it a requirement. TiVo does OK with its internet access features but it isn't close to what I want, falls way short, so I run TiVo through Google TV. There isn't a single one of these new streaming boxes I would trade my 3.5 year old Sony Google TV box for. A $200 internet streaming box might be stillborn as a mass market multi million seller but not everybody wants a simple limited box and the $100 boxes continue to be simple and very limited, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV. I like all of them but none of them do close to as many of the things I want as a Sony NSZ-GT1 or NSZ-GS7/GS8. An update to those models with a newer version of Android would be nice but without it, they still blow away Amazon Fire TV or Roku or Apple TV for what I want.

    A single Android TV box with ATSC tuner and DVR wouldn't need HDMI input but I can't see anybody offering one of those, the price would need to be around $500 or have a monthly fee. For some odd reason, the market for internet streaming is being described as a one size fits all, everybody wants simple and cheap. I can't believe I am the only person that doesn't fit into that market or the market I am part of is so small that it doesn't matter.
     
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  13. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    The competition doesn't have it, so, unless the feature is going to give them a big enough advantage it's not worth burdening the device with the expense of the extra hardware.

    Like much of Google TV's design - the HDMI passthrough was more concept than finished product. It can be argued that the "smarts" are better placed in the TV or the STB/DVR/etc, because the integration would then be much tighter; but there are numerous issues with the concept as it exists now that ironically make HDMI passthrough - not ready for prime time.

    So, would that leave a viable market for the 3rd party OEM's like HiSense to provide those extra features? We may have to see ...

    btw, my impression from the GreenThrottle deal is that Google acquired some guys who understand how to design a game controller. That's a necessary part to develop like the controller Amazon produced, but it doesn't necessarily portend anything more than just that in terms of creating a new game console.
     
  14. zim2dive

    zim2dive Active Member

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    at this point in history I have to ask 'why' ?? ie. the OEMs, in combination with the limited GTV OS given to them by Google, have shown little ability to produce anything great... ie how many of us wouldn't have gladly thrown out whatever "skin" the OEM added, in return for a vanilla box which had a much better chance of getting OS updates?

    It's a mistake for Google to try to "save" a market which didn't exist... IMO.
     
  15. zim2dive

    zim2dive Active Member

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    how was _that_ feature (HMDI pass thru) not ready for prime time ??? I never had any issue with the HDMI pass-thru on my Revue/Co-Star (other than the fact that the GTV box itself was unstable enough to require reboots from time to time). That may have been one of the bet-working features of GTV (IMO).
     
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  16. gbeardmore

    gbeardmore New Member

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    +1 for the opinion about HDMI Pass-Thru being the best feature! Is anyone aware of ANY other Android set-top boxes with pass-thru? I never had an issue with it on my Revue either, and can't figure out why another manufacturer doesn't include it in their product. (Is it really that hard to implement?)
     
  17. Travel

    Travel Active Member

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    Right, the overlay, Prime Time, Search feature and YouTube/Netflix apps, "package" is an impressive, innovative-technological highlight of GoogleTV. It's not Google's fault that the cable companies didn't cooperate with their DVR integration; which is a small item, overall, anyway.

    The official GoogleTV is a great platform concept, and it deserves to be continued through the support of Hisense and the Pulse Pro.

    I just ("third party") downloaded "Movie Box" the other day for example. Played "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" the next day and it ran like a charm; nice HD and Pro Logic 2 audio. GoogleTV is an excellent streaming device. Like I say, an Android Jelly Bean/KitKat update is gravy. The Chrome API level is getting a little too outdated with some websites, but that's about the only real complaint for me with the current GoogleTV OS.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
  18. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Well keep in mind that besides just set-top boxes in the USA - Google wants the GTV platform included in televisions provided by third party OEMs - and then there is actually more GTV set-top box activity outside of the USA. They have TV providers with GTV boxes in Korea, France and Switzerland I believe. So apparently Google doesn't want to "give-up" with what we know as GTV.

    Google probably believes a simple Nexus TV box will sell better. (And I agree). However IMO - a Nexus TV box will dilute GTV sales even further in the USA. Especially GTV set-top boxes (not so much GTV televisions). Much the same as Chromecast has "detracted" from GTV sales. I don't think anyone with a straight face can claim that Chromecast isn't competing with GTV for sales dollars and hurting GTV sales. It also competes with GTV for developmental resources (apps). Of course Google will "publicly" deny this -;)

    One good thing for GTV that could come from the Nexus TV box is if there would be more apps designed for TV that worked on both platforms (the Nexus TV and GTV devices). So maybe Google will have a TV app section where apps work on both platforms. We'll have to see - because IMO some app developers with premium content might be more inclined to only want their apps on a simple platform without a web browser and full market access. Also the DRM could be different on GTV compared to Nexus TV.

    In summary: Google wants to get into the living room in USA - and besides Chromecast it has to be primarily with an over-the-top box (as cable companies in USA didn't want GTV & GTV television adoption has been slow). Google will make a simple Nexus box that they feel will sell better than GTV boxes. They realize the GTV set-top box market is pretty dead in the USA - and probably realize that the Nexus box will "kind of" compete with GTV boxes - but Nexus TV will be different enough that some OEMS will still be willing to give a GTV box a try (in USA). If not - well that segment of the market was already dead anyway. Google will continue on with GTV televisions (in USA and internationally) and set-top boxes overseas. Google still wants GTV to be the De facto OS for smart TVs. It's an uphill battle but I don't think Google is ready to throw in the towel on GTV. The GTV set-top box market in USA is in jeopardy though - but that market was pretty much a non-factor in terms of sales.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
  19. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I have certainly not had any issues with HDMI pass through using Google TV. It is a feature that has grown on me over time, I didn't really feel as if it was important at first, now I see how easy it makes accessing traditional TV as well as internet TV sources for the female head of household, it is a must have feature for our household.
     
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  20. ericd

    ericd Active Member

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    True, without an HDMI input, there would be no Primetime app (which, like it or not, has become a staple of GTV). If Google tries to compete with the Fire TV by releasing a box that's too similar to Amazon's entry, they'll lose... badly. Google needs to differentiate it's new box from the Fire TV wherever it can.

    Without HDMI pass thru, an updated OS, full voice support (across all apps) and full (or as close as possible) Playstore access, Amazon's box will make any entry from Google irrelevant. Game support is fine, but to truly own the living room, there needs to be some sort of integration with cable and satellite boxes.
     

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