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Startup readies world’s first Android Internet radio

Jun 8, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

[Updated: June 10] — A Taiwanese startup called Bonux is readying an ARM11-based Android Internet radio with a 4.3-inch touchscreen called the Bonux iMusic Player. Meanwhile, the company is also prepping an AndroidTV Player set-top box based on a similar processor that offers a quick switch between TV and Android sessions.

Due to go into mass production in August, the Bonux iMusic Player is the first Internet-connected music player based on Android, claims Bonux, a Taiwanese company that launched last July.

As far as we know, this is indeed the first dedicated desktop Internet radio to run Android. In fact, touchscreen-based Internet radios of any kind, such as the Linux-based Sensia from Pure, are still fairly novel.

The iMusic Player primarily uses Android 2.1 as a touchscreen interface to local or Internet-based music and YouTube content. The device appears to lack a full suite of Android apps, and it is unclear whether it offers an open web browser.


Bonux iMusic Player

(Click to enlarge)

The iMusic Player is equipped with a music player supporting MP3, WMA, and Ogg formats, according to Bonux. The device also provides an Internet radio that can connect to 20,000 stations, offering search by keyword, location, genre, and favorites, says the company.

In addition to audio features including dual speakers, the iMusic Player provides a video player designed for viewing YouTube videos. An image viewer and alarm clock are also said to be supplied.

There does not appear to be any built-in support for commercial music services, but users can download applications for various music service providers, such as Pandora, says the company.

The iMusic Player is built around an unnamed ARM1176-based processor clocked at 667MHz. This may well be Freescale's i.MX31, but it could also be a Samsung device (such as the  S3C6410, S3C6400, or S5P6440).

Equipped with 128MB RAM and 256MB of flash storage, the Bonux iMusic Player ships with an SD/SDHC card slot and a USB port. No resolution details were offered for the 4.3-inch touchscreen, which is said to be augmented with an IR-based remote control.

WiFi and Ethernet are provided, as well as audio/video I/O, says Bonux. The latter is said to include aux in, 3.5mm headphone jack, RCA and S/PDIF outputs, and a composite video out port.

Specifications listed for the Bonux iMusic Player include:

  • Processor — ARM1176-based SoC clocked at 667MHz
  • Memory — 128MB DDR RAM; 256MB NAND flash
  • Flash expansion — SD/SDHC slot
  • Display — 4.3-inch TFT LCD touchscreen
  • Networking — 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
  • WiFi — 802.11b/g
  • USB — 1 x USB Host port
  • Speakers — 2 x 5-Watt speakers
  • Audio/video I/O:
    • Aux-in
    • 3.5mm headphone
    • RCA out
    • S/PDIF out
    • Composite video out
  • Remote control — IR controller
  • Software features:
    • Music player supporting MP3, WMA, Ogg
    • Album cover displays
    • 20,000-station Internet radio
    • Station search by keyword, location, genre, favorites
    • YouTube video player
    • Image viewer
    • Alarm clock
  • Power — 100-240V switching power
  • Operating system — Android 2.1

Bonux AndroidTV Player: A cheap Google TV alternative

As Google and its partners prepare to launch Android into IP set-top box (STB) orbit this fall with Google TV, several rival Android-based IPTV products may be there to join them. These include People of Lava's Scandinavia TV and a new Android TV from TCL. Meanwhile, at Computex, Bonux demonstrated a prototype of its own more modest Android IPTV product.


Bonux AndroidTV Player

(Click to enlarge)

Bonux offers no details on the Bonux AndroidTV Player on its website, but the company sent us more details since the original version of this story posted earlier this week. According to Bonux, the device provides full 1080p HD decoding at 30 frames per second, and then displays the video on TV, says Bonux. The box can decode directly can from digital storage devices, such as USB drives or SD cards, says the company.

The Bonux AndroidTV Player runs Android 2.1 on an ARM11 SoC clocked at 700MHz, possibly the same system-on-chip used in the iMusic Player. The box also supplies a dedicated, hard-wired video engine that supports multi-format video decoding, says the company.

Equipped with an SD/SDHC slot, the AndroidTV Player offers an Ethernet port and a USB Host port, says Bonux. An HDMI port and Composite port are provided for connecting to TVs.

Video decoding support is offered for MPEG-1, MPEG-2 Main Profile, MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile, DivX HD, Xvid, H.264 Main Profile, VC-1 (SMPTE 421M), and RMVB (Real 8/9/10), says Bonux. The device is also said to support a wide variety of video formats ranging from WMV to MOV, as well as numerous audio and image formats. Subtitle support is said to include SUB, SRT, SSA, and SMI.

The AndroidTV Player at Computex

We first heard about the Bonux TV box from Engadget. The AndroidTV Player could cost as little as $120 when it ships later this year, according to the story, which offered a hands-on look at a pre-release version of the AndroidTVPlayer at Computex.

The box shown at Computex was only a mock-up, says the story. However, the Android software itself was said to be functional and simple, enabling Android access on a TV while also providing local media playback across a home network.


Android 2.1 running on Bonux AndroidTV Player shown below TV in white

(Source: Engadget)

Essentially, the device scales up an Android experience onto a large screen, which according to Engadget's Darren Murph, is "not the most elegant of solutions." However, considering the price, and the fact that the software supports a wide variety of media formats, it could appeal to users looking for a simple, low-cost Android TV experience, he adds.

The hardware's processor, and even the potential inclusion of WiFi, is still undecided, says the story. Indeed the company told the publication that it may issue a series of boxes at different price points with different features, including a possible integrated TV tuner option.

Despite all this uncertainty, availability is scheduled for the end of the year at prices starting at $120 to $130, says Engadget. Bonux is also working on a future version that could shrink down to the size of a deck of cards, the story claims.

Availability

The Bonux iMusic Player should be available in this fall in the U.S, Europe, Japan, and Taiwan, says Bonux. The box will sell for $300 directly, and may also be available in some OEM versions. Pricing has not yet been determined for the AndroidTV Player, which will enter mass production in September, according to the company.

The Bonux site, which offers more detail on the iMusic Player, but currently provides no information on the AndroidTV Player, may be found here.

The Engadget story on the Bonux IPTV box may be found here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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