updated 03:35 pm EDT, Fri April 17, 2009
KDDI au Box with Android
Google's open-source Android operating system thus far used only in cellphones will soon expand and run a set-top box built by Motorola, according to a Thursday report. Japanese Internet service provider KDDI will market and sell the set-top, which will be capable of playing content on CDs and DVDs, transferring music and video to mobile devices and rip and store files on its integrated or connected hard drive. Previously, Motorola used a pure Linux interface for its au Box, though both it and Android are open-source.
For browsing the Internet on user's TVs, the box is expected to use a variation of Android's Chrome-based web browser, though no actual details as to the specs of the device are yet known.
The Open Embedded Software Foundation, a consortium of Japanese electronics manufacturers, is pushing to make Android available in more devices, and is expected to show off various devices including TVs and VoIP phones that run on the software at the CEATEC show scheduled for the fall of 2009.
HP has been confirmed to be developing an Android netbook, while ASUS, Compal and Dell are rumored to be working on their own versions.
It is not known when the Android-based au Box will be released in Japan or if it will be offered in any other markets. Pricing is also unknown, though a rental fee of some sort is likely to be involved, as it was with past versions of the device.