MIPS to demo Android TV set-top box, netbooks

MIPS recently finished optimizing Android 2.0 for the MIPS32 microprocessor architecture

MIPS Technologies continues its push to use Google's Android mobile OS in a range of products with plans to show off the first Android-based set-top boxes and netbooks at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

The new products show that interest in the OS continues to grow. Google developed Android to work in mobile handsets, but a number of companies have modified the OS for use in other products. At the Computex electronics show last June, gadget makers put Android in several devices, including netbooks and e-readers.

MIPS and its partners have added more multimedia devices to the list of Android-based gadgets. The companies tweaked Android for set-top boxes since Google is focused on the mobile phone market.

They had to enable content-protected HD video and multichannel audio to be played on a large flat panel display. The OS is based on Linux, so it's open source and available for use freely.

MIPS, which makes its own type of microprocessors, worked with partner companies to develop the new Android-based products.

The company worked with Western Mediabridge, a digital TV developer, and chip designer Sigma Designs on the Android set-top-box. The device has video-on-demand, ThinkFree Office software, a Web browser and remote control keyboard and supports high definition 1080p quality video.

"We anticipate there will be a lot of Android-based products and applications in the near future which will be connected to each other. Our belief is that the Android set-top box will be positioned as a main device among in-home Android-based multimedia devices," the companies said in a statement.

MIPS will also show off a prototype Android IPTV (Internet protocol TV) set-top box designed by KDDI R&D Labs, a subsidiary of Japanese telecommunications provider KDDI. IPTV is a system to send digital TV signals over Internet networks.

Finally, the company plans to display at the show one of the first MIPS-based netbook computers with Android, the YeeLoong8089 netbook. The device, made by China's Lemote Technology, is loaded with free software, the companies said.

MIPS recently completed work to allow Android 2.0 to be used on the MIPS32 microprocessor architecture. The code is available through the MIPSAndroid community.

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Dan Nystedt

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