September 1, 2014

ODROID On Its Way to Early-Bird Devs

odroid_001One of the variables in the success of Apple’s App Store is the iPod Touch and plethora of quality games available. Mobile analytic firm Flurry estimates that the iPod Touch accounts for just-over 40% of the 58 million iPhone OS devices sold. A recent Flurry report suggests that the iPhone’s share of mobile internet activity (user sessions) has decreased, while the iPod Touch is seeing a steady increase. The question lures: Can an Android-based device capitalize on the market that the iPod Touch is creating/exploiting/dominating?

Enter ODROID Entertainment Device… maybe.

In case you aren’t familiar with the ODROID (“Open-Android”), the manufacturer, Hardkernel, describes it as an “Entertainment Device” with a focus on gaming. The Developer Edition is shipping with a Samsung Cortex-A8 processor clocked at 833MHz with NEON multimedia accelerator, 512 MB of DDR2 RAM, and 720p video output via HDMI, but only a 320 x 480 3.5 inch screen, a vanilla install of Android 1.5, and a form factor that only its mother could love. It is currently unclear if, and when, the ODROID will be marketed as an end-user device. While the partnership with SlideME seems to suggest the possibility, Hardkernel’s homepage currently refers to the ODROID as a “Developer-focused portable game device.”

Here’s a video of it in action, while connected to an HDTV via HDMI playing Speed Forge 3D:

The ODROID Developer Edition package is now available worldwide and has begun deployment to the 300 developers that pre-ordered back in September. The package will set you back $349 and includes the device, debugging board, TTA20 to USB cable, 2 (1300 mAH) batteries, full hardware schematics data and source code, 2GB MicroSD Card and 8GB SDCH card (Class 6).

ODROID_Baseball_Superstars

Will the ODROID gain any traction in the gaming community? If nothing else, hopefully the ODROID will help to broaden the public view of Android’s possibilities, while motivating developers to take Android more seriously as a real contender in next-generation mobile gaming.

Personally, I am still waiting for someone to announce an Android PMP, with a totally-reinvented media environment, to contend with the iPod Touch and extend the joy of Android to the growing market of internet-connected, app-ready, portable media players.