So, Google TV hasn't done very well so far. But that doesn't mean that big cable providers aren't sitting up and paying attention. A bevvy of app-enabled set top boxes from Apple, Google, Roku and others are starting to seriously worry the dinosaurs of the TV industry. So why not just add apps to current receivers? Most of them are basically just low-powered computers running a locked-down Linux derivative, after all. Myriad Group, the folks behind the Alien Dalvik software that allows iOS and other platforms to run Android apps natively, have done just that.
The Alien Vue is a small piece of hardware that emulates Android's various necessary pieces of hardware and software, specifically designed for TV output. At the moment it's limited to Google TV apps, but it's already allowing smartphones and tablets to control input. Basically, it's an independent system that could be easily added to current-generation set top box hardware for a quick and dirty infusion of Android-powered goodness. HTML5 apps, including mobile versions of websites like YouTube and Facebook, are also supported.
Check out their demo below:
Is this an alternative to Google TV? In a word, no. What it could mean is that cable and satellite providers could easily build out smarter platforms, then add their own apps or partner apps by developing to Android standards. It's a modified version of Barnes & Noble's approach to its Nook devices, which run Android underneath a UI and app system designed to promote their own content. While the Alien Vue system would not have access to Google TV's core functions, it would be a quick and relatively cheap way to keep the freebie cable boxes competitive with their Internet-based counterparts.
We'll likely be seeing a live demonstration of Myriad's Android prowess at CES in January. Stick around during our live coverage for this and other goodies set to debut in 2012 and beyond.