01
Oct
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It's not often that RCA does something worth talking about these days, but the company has apparently been working on a product dubbed the Internet Music System (model number RCS13101E). This device streams media to the included speakers, or to a TV over HDMI. That's cool, but the important thing is that it's powered by Android with Google apps included. It has just started popping up in Walmart stockrooms, and will presumably be on sale soon. Yes, it's an unusual product to say the least.

The "Internet Music System" is an odd name seeing as it promises to do plenty of other things. The device looks a bit like an old fashioned stereo, but the front houses a 7-inch multi-touch screen that's actually a removable tablet. The tablet is used to control the audio streaming to the speakers, or HD video to a TV via HDMI. The demo video above makes it look as though the tablet has to be docked to send video, which wouldn't really be surprising. The device comes with the full suite of Google Play Services, so you can get access all your Play Music and Videos, as well as other apps. Also, there's a CD player for some reason (this is RCA, after all).

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We don't really know much about the tablet component other than its size and that it has a dual-core processor with some version of Jelly Bean. Don't expect a Nexus 7 replacement, but this is at least interesting. When it goes on sale (and we get a price) it might be worth looking at more closely.

Update: Our tipster says the price will be $178, but we don't have confirmation on that yet. That would be a potentially great price.

[Thanks, @markd721]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • hyperbolic

    Nice concept but why would I buy this product when I can buy only a bluetooth speaker and stream music to it.

    • Jose Torres

      Would you believe the amount of clueless consumers out there who would not know the FIRST thing to what Bluetooth is? Let alone use that for wireless audio? It is being sold in Walmart afterall.

      • Daniel Hoch

        Some of us Wal-Mart salesmen actually know what we are talking about.

        • Mike Reid

          He referred to "clueless consumers" and said nothing about sales people.

          That said, I'd think that most (not all, for various reasons) knowledgeable sales people would gravitate to higher end retailers, and few of those would sell this product.

        • blast0id

          maybe working at wal-mart is a mistake for you then... also, selling features and benefits isn't the way to sell stuff properly, you sell on what the customer wants, or needs... if you're doing most of the talking, there's a good probability the customer isn't going to be buying, from you at least...

    • br_hermon

      True, but there may be some extra features here: I assume that the dock you place the tablet into charges it. Plus it's for sure that it outputs video.

      • hyperbolic

        Also you can stream video via your android and soon CM will release their new app for that :)

    • Sxeptomaniac

      Just because it's not targeted to you, doesn't mean the product doesn't have a place in the market. I can see multiple scenarios in which this would be popular.

      For one, some may prefer to use this as a primary location for audio (and potentially video), freeing up their phone/tablet for other purposes.

      Some people may want a more cohesive media solution, rather than using a phone/tablet with some other bluetooth product.

      Others may not know any better, but that's hardly RCA's fault for taking advantage of a market created by ignorance. They aren't playing dirty or anything, if the product works as advertised.

      Whatever the case, if the $178 price is accurate, and the product reasonably usable, I suspect it will find some happy owners along the way.

  • Kent Andersen

    I dont see how it could be less than $300.
    Dont know how i feel about that...

    • Ror

      The Chinese OEMs that actually make all the devices make things at far reduced value than you'd expect.

      • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

        Being a Chinese myself, I often heard stories why things could be made so cheap. There are many urban legend like theories flowing around. Two of them that I hear all the times are:

        1) Someone came up with a weird idea that he thinks will go big. Spend all his money into it. When it doesn't come out as he expected, he goes desperate. Now a blood-sucking character will enter the scene and offer to buy all his junks in an unbelievable low price. That guy then turns around and sell them out at an equally unbelievable low price, but still manage to make a profit.

        2) Money-laundering. Instead of just bleaching dirty money the efficient, but risky way, someone would actually produce tangible goods and sell them at lower than market price. They don't need to make a profit, as long as the product sells. They can then exaggerate the profit and brings their dirty money to the shiny legal world.

        • Ror

          Thats not at all what I was talking about. The cost to market and ship and manage goods exceeds the cost to manfacture. So the OEMS who do none of those things (think HTC back when they used to just make phones for SonyEriccson or such) Theres 4 main cost factors for a device

          1: Bill of materials (BOM). This represents the cost of the components that go into the device. These are paid to suppliers.

          2: Transportation/warehousing. This is the cost to transport and store the product before sale. This is paid to shipping companies and warehousing.

          3: Manufacturing cost (including labor). This is paid to contract manufacturers.

          4: Warranty expense. This is paid back to customers for returned product that can no longer be sold.

          For example, the iPhone costs around $200 USD to make but is sold for around $700 USD.

    • Daniel Hoch

      It will only be $178.

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

        Source? Do you work for Wal-Mart? Any picture evidence?

        • Daniel Hoch

          I took the Photos.

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

            Can we see a picture of the price to add to the post?

          • Daniel Hoch

            When it goes on the shelf.

      • Old Guy

        Alarm Clock?
        Sleep mode?
        Sounds perfect for the bedroom.
        When is it available?

    • Chris Caldwell

      its basically a big, cheap docking station with speakers. The question is how they could build a tablet that cheap. I assume its pretty poorly built, but consider that they now dont have to build any sort of program into stereos like they used to. All cost is hardware.

  • Daniel Hoch

    For $178 look interesting.

    • Mastermind26

      I can't seem to find it @walmart.com. Do you have links?

    • Missfortunes

      I bought one..it's awesome. Only thing I don't like...the tablet will ONLY charge on the dock. no plugging it in no charging via batterypak.

  • http://www.stevenmattera.com Steven Mattera

    Whatever happened to Android@Home?

    • Mike Reid

      Abandoned, pretty much, AFAICT.

      • pfmiller

        The Nexus Q was a big part of Android at home, and that was just reborn as the Chromecast. I'm sure we'll see more from this project in the future.

  • Ror

    So is this the first android device that plays audio CDs?

    • Chris Caldwell

      no way they fit a cd player in a tablet, but why would you need? get a usb dvd player if you still use disks. I can't imagine enough people do to justify building it in.

      • Mastermind26

        cd players are a thing of the past....too bad there are circumstances when all you have a CD....this seems like a good way to get the best of both worlds.

        I might be in for one.

  • Roger Allen

    So it's a nexus 7 with a bluetooth speaker and hardwired Chromecast. The only thing extra is the ability to play cds. Seems rather pointless if you ask me.

  • Chris Caldwell

    Nice idea, but I wouldnt buy as is. I dont need another 7" tablet, but Id consider buying a cheaper one WITHOUT the tablet that would fit my N7.....

  • Lou

    I have been looking for a decent replacement for my 12 year old stereo that crapped out recently. Just about everything out there now has those damn iPhone docks which is an automatic deal breaker for me. This looks like the first stereo system in a long while that I would be interested in purchasing, especially if the rumored price is approximate.

    Everyone has their own tastes, but I still own Physical media which is great that this has CD and Radio implementation along with streaming music capabilities and the possibility to stream my entire music library on my local network drives with this system. The only things needed to make this perfect for me is a USB port (or two/three?) and a record player (again I have a physical collection as well!) but with those things aside this does look like something I can purchase and enjoy greatly.

  • Shay-Z

    When will it be in Walmart?

  • jennifer

    how many watts

  • Lisa

    This guy is going to do a review of it
    http://youtu.be/mx8J7tB1b8A

  • Baires

    Walmart item # 006211813101

  • Jamesee1

    its essentially a huge, competitive docking station with speakers. The inquiry is the way they could manufacture a tablet that modest. I expect its pretty defectively fabricated, yet consider that they now dont need to manufacture any kind of project into stereos like they used to. All cost is fittings.

    download films on android

  • http://cashd00d.co.cc/ WHAT?

    Just found this at my local store last night for $178. Dual core processor, micro-HDMI output, micro-USB input, bluetooth, 7" multi-touch screen, 4GB memory, SD card slot, remote control, headphone jack, line-in jack, 2-way speakers w/ 5.25" woofers and 1.5" tweeters. I can't tell if it has ICS or JB on it. http://www.rcatablets.com/cool-stuff/rca-dedicated-music I could see this being a Black Friday special this year...

  • The Doctah

    Found this at my local Walmart in Bristol, TN today, the price on the shelf was $178, but it's still not on the website.

  • allan

    I have a sony Hdr pj 540 projection camera that has a HDMI input for the projector, the RCA has an Android tablet, HDMI output, powered speakers. Can you say back yard theatre? I can because that what I use it for. Its portable and small and has a video output.Great for camping also.