Dark Android Round-Up: New NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, a Remix OS Desktop PC, and Android VR
Time for another round-up of news at the Dark Android Project, and some of it exists in the realm of “maybe”, while another is definitely on its way from an unlikely source…
The news that Alphabet/Google was planning on releasing a stand-alone Virtual Reality isn’t new for readers of the Dark Android Blog, but there have recently been leaks that a new headset and new platform all based around this idea of “Android VR” (which seems distinct from Google Cardboard) will appear at Google I/O 2016 this coming week. There’s also mention of “Android VR” in the dev console for Google Play, so this is definitely looking like a certainty.
Not to say that things can’t change at the last minute.
Regardless, I’m totally game for a stand-alone, Android-based, inexpensive VR device. This works for a few reasons. For one, it will likely strap to your head, and won’t be as fragile as Google Cardboard (a platform I love all the same). For two, this means that we can all take advantage of incredible inexpensive sub-$200 Android phones that don’t have all the bells and whistles that most of us don’t want anyways, but can still take advantage of mobile VR. So I hope this happens.
NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet X1?
Something I mentioned this week on my tech podcast, Sovryn Tech, was the FCC filing for a new NVIDIA SHIELD tablet. The previous SHIELD Tablet–later renamed the K1 (after its processor)–was a Dark Android favorite that is still a worthy buy. This new tablet we at least know the will have 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi 802.1ac and it’ll measure 8.6×4.8×0.3-inches, but that’s about it for certain from the FCC. Rumor has it that this tablet will have the Tegra X1 processor, which will make this an easy choice if so. That processor is ridiculously powerful, and NVIDIA is doing well about keeping the firmware/software for their hardware up-to-date and relatively open, and I don’t see that trend ending any time soon.
There’s the chance that this will never get released, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it either way, as this may take the place as the tablet to own (over the 2013 Nexus 7).
AOC and JIDE Unite for a Remix OS PC
So this is one that is definitely on its way, but may not see an official release in the United States. AOC (a company that actually makes inexpensive, not so terrible monitors that I’ve used in the past) has joined forces with Remix OS creator-company, JIDE, to release an actual Android desktop all-in-one machine. Not that they’re the first one’s to do this (Acer has that distinction, I believe), but they will be the first to have an Android desktop that will likely act like a desktop.
This is due to the phenomenal work–which I’ve written about–that JIDE has done with Remix OS turning Android into an actual desktop capable OS: Windows, resizing, right-clicking, and all.
Details are a little light in terms of hardware at this point, but as you can see in the screencap above there are 4 USB 3.0 ports on the backside as well as two HDMI ports and an ethernet jack. Jide says this PC has an Amlogic S905 SoC, which is a 64-bit, 4-core Cortex A53 chip that is designed for media set-top boxes. It is, to be clear, far from a high-end piece of hardware. This PC is outfitted with just 2GB of RAM and options of either 16GB or 64GB of storage.
However, the winning recipe here is that this Android desktop will have what matters more than anything: the Google Play Store. It’ll have the apps (as long as it doesn’t get taken away like it did from JIDE’s other desktop effort). That, in conjunction with Remix OS, makes this attractive even though the hardware isn’t stellar. Again, the beauty of desktop Android setups is the ease-of-use of encryption apps for the less-than-skilled computer users out there that Android provides. That’s why I always push so hard for Android desktops here at the Dark Android Project. If people can get used to using Orbot for some Tor, and ChatSecure, and the rest, with practically no setup…yeah, that’s a win for the crypto-economy.
Anyway, all interesting news, despite how much any of these pan out. A cool desktop, potentially a great tablet, and a new, very serious entrant in the VR space are all welcome.