In addition to some sweet smartphone and tablet announcements coming out of CES this year, some big name manufacturers are putting a renewed hope and effort in Google TV – the platform that got so many people excited, and then just kind of fell flat. With this renewed emphasis on Google TV, it’s starting to seem like 2013 might just be the year that it goes mainstream.
First up, we have the ASUS Qube – a Google TV box that is, quite literally, a cube. Even the custom UI has cubes everywhere. In all honesty, other than this emphasis on cubes, it’s pretty standard fare: it’s got a remote with a QWERTY keyboard for easy typing, voice controls, support for gestures, two HDMI ports, an Ethernet port, a USB port, and an IR blaster. As with other Google TV devices, it will also come with access to Google Play, Chrome, YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Instant. And as an added bonus, ASUS is throwing in 50GB of free cloud storage with the Qube. We don’t have a release date yet, but it will retail for right around $100-120, which is much more accessible and reasonable than some previous Google TV iterations.
NETGEAR is also out to prove that Google TV isn’t dead. The NeoTV PRIME is essentially an update of the NeoTV Pro and NeoTV MAX boxes from last year, except it adds Google TV to enrich streaming options, while making your local content more accessible. NeoTV PRIME lets you playback video files that you have saved on an external harddrive or USB thumb drive, along with photo and audio files, too, via the integrated aVia media player.
The PRIME comes with a remote that includes a QWERTy keyboard, along with WiFi b/g/n and HDMI. It’s worth noting that video output can only occur via HDMI, but come on – it’s 2013, so this really shouldn’t be an issue for anyone reading this article. This Google TV box is hitting retail outlets now for the asking price of $129.99.
NETGEAR also announced an add-on camera that’s compatible with the new PRIME. This camera can stream its feed to any Android device, making it a great home monitor for when you’re away from home. Additionally, the new Push2TV wireless adapter was announced, allowing you to wirelessly mirror your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to your television – this isn’t revolutionary by any means, but unlike many solutions that are available now, it’s device agnostic, which is what many people have been asking for.
Between ASUS and NETGEAR, Google TV looks like it will have a very promising 2013. Hopefully, Google can finally give Apple TV a run for its money.
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