Lenovo, known primarily for making high-end Windows laptops, has set its sights on the living room with two television sets that will run the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, known alternatively as Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich.
According to GigaOm and Lenovo, these will be the first televisions ever to run Android 4.0 — and they will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, although they will only be available in China.
Were we wrong to give CES a pass this year? Perhaps, if this thing is any indication. One device we said would make that conference worthwhile was a television that can run apps for real, and Lenovo’s Android 4.0 television could be it.
One hurdle that these devices have yet to pass is the remote control, because obviously, you can’t touch your television from the couch, and apps are designed with touchscreens in mind. According to the report, Lenovo plans to offer a remote control with a touchpad, which could allow users to interact with music and other apps from the couch in a somewhat similar way to how they already use tablet and smartphone apps. (The tablet itself might actually be the best television remote control, but that’s a different story.)
Music apps make a tremendous amount of sense as a way to deliver and let people interact with music, but so far, the television has lagged behind other app platforms despite its awesome potential as a connected music platform. For many people, according to speaker manufacturers I’ve asked at previous Consumer Electronic Shows, the best speakers in the house are often the ones connected to the TV.
This television is “available in China only,” as mentioned, which is an interesting twist. Could cable and satellite companies have pressured the company not to release this in less piracy-friendly countries, given the potential of Android apps to deliver video content without going through the usual channels, so to speak?
We won’t speculate about that; for now, it’s enough to know that at least one of our CES wishes might come true: Someone might have figured out how to make a television run Android apps properly.