07
Jan
Qube2s

Okay, so the Google TV world has been a little stagnant lately. Alright, a lot stagnant. But! This is CES! There are plenty of new devices and gadgets and stuff to play with. While LG is on the other side of the show floor showing of its Google TVs (that is, TVs running Google TV), ASUS would like to introduce you to its Google TV box (that is, a box that runs Google TV that plugs into a TV...TV TV TV Google Google TV Google). The distinguishing feature on this one? It's a cube!

qubefront1 qubeback

qubeui qubeui2 qubeui3 qubeui4

Yes, both the box itself and the UI feature cubes everywhere. It feels very reminiscent of Compiz Fusion (is that still what they call it? Dang thing changed names like five times) and certainly catches the eye. Whether or not it will be intuitive for end users remains to be seen, though. Most people don't tend to think in 3 dimensions that easily. Hence why Rubik's cubes are so hard.

Aside from the custom overlay, the unit comes with pretty standard fare. A remote control with a QWERTY keyboard, voice controls (which are pretty much standard in GTV now), and gestures. In terms of hardware, the box features two HDMI out ports, an Ethernet connection, USB, and an IR blaster. The device will retail between $100-120 when it's released at... some point.

ASUS_Qubea ASUS_Qube_remote_fronta ASUS_Qube_remote_backa

Qube with Google TV - Bring the world of entertainment to your TV

Instantly add Google TV to your HDTV with the ASUS Qube. Qube with Google TV offers both motion control and voice search that integrates Google Play, Chrome™, YouTube™in one compact device. With access to over 100,000 movies and TV shows* from Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, plus numerous apps, videos and games from Google Play, ASUS Qubewith Google TV is the perfect media content device.

ASUS has developed the unique Qube interface, which displays functions via a rotating on-screen cube shape. The advanced remote control supports motion sensing for gaming and other applications. Customers can also control Qube with Google TV from their Android smartphones and tablets using the Mobile Remote app, available through Google Play. ASUS includes 50GB of WebStorage cloud space with every Qube with Google TV.

Hands-on via Anandtech

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

    Does this use the same Marvell chipset as the current line of Google TV devices?

    Edit: Nevermind, checked the source and it does use the Marvell Armada 1500.

  • JordanMcRae

    That interface is atrocious.

    • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

      Agreed.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/108482452903817442299/posts Andrew Bone

    I'm hoping for a Nexus TV at I/O

    • http://twitter.com/Duncankrebbers Duncan Krebbers

      I'm with you, this is hideous. I'm using a Logitech Revue and while sometimes it feels slow and outdated, seeing the UI Asus has come up with shows me that the Revue is so much more intuitive and clear.

      And I even got used to controlling my tv with a full size keyboard;)

  • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja Zargh

    YOUR HONEYCOMB IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD.

  • Lord_Data

    "Qube"? Clearly this is a shameless attempt to make a clone of the Nexus Q, in order to cash in on its success.

    ...

    Yeah, I couldn't keep a straight face either.

    • David

      Cash in on what success? Nexus Q was canned and never released.

      • Paul_Werner

        Someone didn't detect his sarcasm

  • Aaron Berlin

    Oh dear...

  • jglisson

    This looks dangerously close to a Boxee Box. And I love my Boxee, but I love Android more.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      I'd like to say I was a Boxee fan, but it seems all but completely abandoned (last update was like 6 months ago) and they are in desperate need of updates and fixes to several parts of the UI and backend functionality.

      On the other hand, the reason I chose the Boxee over Google TV was entirely because Boxee is to set top boxes what VLC was to media player software, it'll play almost anything. I've hardly found a file format that Boxee can't play. On the other hand, there are several popular formats that I've seen Google TV fail on.

      As much as I want to see Google TV go somewhere, until they add better support for formats and at least one model comes out that is moderately hackable, I'm just not interested. Like Andrew said, I'm hoping for a Nexus TV at Google I/O (https://plus.google.com/u/0/113320858444397755860/posts/4aPcpc8KH4c)

      • jglisson

        Apparently they are phasing out Boxee Box and now just have a Boxee DVR set top box.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          The Boxee people really screwed up a potentially great product. The updates came slowly and often broke just as many things as they fixed. Tons of well documented bugs languished since the first release all the way until today. The company tried desperately to create post-sale profits (even pushing stuff down our throats) but did it in such a bad way that it's just hopeless. And the most annoying thing, several documented features never work as documented or didn't work at all.

          Based on reviews of Boxee TV (the new DVR thing), it's super buggy and waiting for some firmware fixes. Frankly, based on experience with the Boxee Box, I wouldn't expect those firmware fixes to really improve anything after the next 3 months or so. I haven't seen a single positive review. I hate to crack on other developers, but I get the feeling that Boxee's developers are in way over their heads...I wouldn't hire somebody with Boxee on their resume...

          I really hope the Boxee+ project takes off... I'd love to see them get the full source code. It looks like they've done really good work, so I'll probably give it a try in the near future.

  • TonyArcher

    That's totally compiz cube effect.

  • Jake

    Two HDMI out ports? The back shows one HDMI in and one HDMI out. There's not a clear shot of the marking on the side, but it doesn't look like an HDMI port.

    • Jake

      Scratch that; I though the port on the side was the same glossy square that's on the front. The square on the front is likely the IR sensor for the remote. The thing on the side could be an HDMI out port.

  • http://www.facebook.com/spencer.pablo Spencer Pablo

    Toslink out please!

  • blix247

    The box is ugly and the UI is dumb. More content please: Native Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus.

    • jm9843

      Native Amazon Instant Video is now available but requires version 3 of the Google TV platform which this presumably ships with.

    • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

      not getting hulu+, don't need it either...

    • Wam31

      Couldn't care less about Amazon & Hulu. There are apps for that.
      Local videos playback from SAMBA, NAS and/or native XBMC server for me please.
      Tired of re-installing everything when upgrading hardware...

  • jammer

    What is the purpose of two HDMI ports?

    Nvmd: In and out.

    • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

      one hdmi is in, the other hdmi is out... cable box into your GoogleTV, from your GoogleTV to your TV... GoogleTV overlays on top of your cable service, so you can bring it up at any time...

  • Steven

    And we've gone 90 years into the future to see this. (hint hint...see title)

  • Anon

    Typos! Typos everywhere!

  • VanSnipes

    looks like all spark from transformers. They called it the Qube so that Hasbro Can't sue them over copyright crap like they did last year over the transformer line on tablets

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Added a few more PR images.

  • JG

    Before opening the thumbnails, I thought maybe the sides of the cubes light up for controls, but alas its just the 3D spinning cube on the TV....

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    This box can serve as a good, absolutely silent home web server, if you don't care about speed, and don't watch TV alot. I'm running a Quake 3 server on a similar Chinese noname TV box.
    The cheapest PC alternative is 2x more expensive, and has an awful tiny buzzing fan.

  • Dan

    "TV TV TV Google Google TV Google" <-- wins the week

    "the box features two HDMI out ports" - no it doesn't.

  • BrianBreniser

    When has a cube ever been a good GUI? Anyone? Anyone think this will work? looks ugly to me.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      That depends on the definition of "good" ;)

      HTC's first attempt at a significant modification to the Windows Mobile interface was called 'The Cube', it was on a phone known as the HTC Touch. By swiping your finger from the bottom of the screen to about half way up, it activated an animation that brought up a screen with 3 huge buttons. If the user swiped across that screen, it would animate a cube rollover effect going to one of two other screens, each with its own customizations. At the time, it was very cool and decently functional.

      Of course, in the very next pair of phones, the Touch Dual and the Touch Cruise, HTC would drop the Cube for Manilla (also known as TouchFlo 2D). Manilla was really the first iteration of what would ultimately become Sense UI on Android. So, they obviously didn't see a future in the cube either.

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