Asus has come up with a custom UI for Google TV and bundles cloud storageNetgear isn't the only one coming up with Google TV devices at CES, Asus, which already builds the popular Nexus 7, has revealed the Qube, its first Google TV device.
If the name sounds familiar, it's because of the Q, the ill-fated living room device Google unveiled last summer at Google I/O and then never mentioned again.
Unlike the Q, which ran a custom version of Android, the Qube runs Google TV. Granted, Google TV is a custom version of Android, but it's purposely built for the large screen and it's been three years in the making.
After plenty of early mistakes, the latest version of the smart TV software should finally be up to spec. But Asus doesn't seem to be satisfied since, unlike the Netgear box, which comes with a vanilla Google TV experience, it decided to spruce things up a bit.
Following a time-honored tradition for Android makers, Asus ditched the stock Google TV UI to replace it with its own. The UI is designed around an on-screen rotating cube, hence the name, which buyers control with motion gestures.
The remote functions, similar to a Wii controller, are making this possible. It should also make it possible to build games around the feature, but don't hold your breath on this one.
Apart from the custom UI, the Qube also comes with 50 GB of free storage in Asus' own cloud storage service, WebStorage. There's no official price, but it's expected to be in the $100, €76 to $120, €91 range.
Google TV is seeing some action at CES, it seems, and more devices should be announced, but it's too early to call it a comeback. At the same time, no one has managed to corner the smart TV market, or even make a significant dent in it and not for lack of trying.
Apple TV has been around for years, there are plenty of internet-connected TV boxes, not to mention actual smart TVs. None of these has sold too well and some studies suggest that most smart TV owners use them just like their older "dumb" TVs.