It wouldn't be fair to call the Razer Forge TV a failure. No, that simply wouldn't be right. If I did that, I'd miss the opportunity to call it a half-baked, poorly-supported product that lags behind even the limited field of Android TV devices like a three-legged dog chasing a nitrous-powered mail truck. Almost a year after its US launch the set-top box is still inexplicably incompatible with Netflix, the promised PC game streaming software feature has disappeared, and even after being injected with the decrepit soul of OUYA the Forge is basically a dead platform. But there's one last thing to report on before we can finally lay it to rest: the Turret.
We've known that Razer was working on its own branded version of an Android TV set-top box for more than half a year, but at CES 2015 the well-known gaming peripheral company has given the gadget its coming out party. The Razer Forge TV hopes to be the go-to choice for gamers, with support for up to four simultaneous players, keyboard and mouse input, and (eventually) streaming high-end games from a local gaming PC.
The Forge TV box itself is a nondescript slab that looks something like a blacked-out version of a Mac Mini with Razer's triple snake logo on top.
Android manufacturers have been using the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) standard since 2011. While most Android device owners are blissfully unaware that their gadgets can output HDMI (among other things) via a nifty little adapter, power users treasure MHL as an easy way to expand functionality. Today the MHL LLC announced the 3.0 revision of the standard, including a ton of new goodies.
First of all, MHL 3.0 will support video output of up to 4K (or "Ultra HD," usually 3840 × 2160 pixels) resolution. That should be a big plus for those who can afford the early crop of 4K televisions and monitors, even if there's a definite lack of content that actually takes advantage of it.
Motorola introduces a novel idea with its Atrix phone: a lapdock. The idea was simple. All these Android app can be extremely productive, so why limit them to a single, small screen? Plug your phone into the lapdock, use its frankly-over-powered processor to run a larger screen with a keyboard and trackpad. Well, that's exactly what the ClamBook does. Only it does it way better.
As you can see in the renders above, when most phones are plugged in, you're presented with a tablet-styled UI. The device doesn't appear to be touchscreen, but Android has had support for mouse functionality since Android 3.1, so you won't be stuck.
Last week, I traded my Google I/O Chromebook for an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer/keyboard dock combo and started exploring the fascinating laptop/tablet hybrid. Overall, my impressions so far are more positive than I thought they would be, and I'll most likely end up selling the 3G XOOM that has none of the features the Transformer with the dock have to offer. The only problem with the Transformer that I've experienced is a relatively poor battery life compared to both the XOOM and the Tab 10.1, which I can't explain yet... but I'm getting carried away.
After my exploration of the Transformer was complete, I noted 2 annoyances - the absence of the dedicated app switcher key on the dock, which was conveniently present on the Samsung keyboard dock I tested earlier this month, and the absence of the familiar scrolling area on the touchpad that I got so used to on my laptop.
According to a tipster at Droid-life, the Motorola XOOM will be receiving a (relatively minor) system update tomorrow, and no - it doesn't include SD card support (exactly why, we can't even begin to guess). Here's the list of changes and additions:
Access and stay connected to Wi-Fi networks with added Proxy support
SSL data transfer with websites is now supported
WPA Pre-Shared Key pass-phrases are now supported when using the device as a Mobile Hotspot
POP 3 HTML emails will display in their entirety
Bluetooth is now supported in Google Talk
Application storage errors will not appear unless the device has reached maximum storage capacity
Safely dock the Motorola XOOM into the docking adapter without interruption
Ability to add and use a Bluetooth mouse
View and import pictures from digital cameras with Picture Transfer Protocol
When using the device in accessibility mode, menus will no longer prompt with sounds
Generally, this update seems to fix a lot of bugs and add support for some more technical items - nothing to get too worked up about.
For all 5 people who are actually using the gTablet's stock UI instead of a custom ROM that is miles ahead of it in features, ViewSonic released a new over-the-air (OTA) update that finally adds Adobe Flash, along with external docking station and USB keyboard/mouse support and a few other things. The full list, found on ViewSonic's news page, is reproduced below:
Adobe Flash support
External docking station support
USB keyboard and mouse support
International cities available in Weather
Spanish and French language support
Energy saving screen lock
The update notification should pop up automatically upon your gTablet's next boot and won't require a wipe, so don't be afraid to flash away.
If you have a Playstation 3 and have ever surfed the web or chatted with a gaming buddy, you may already be familiar with one of the most annoying text entry systems known to mankind. Pushing a directional pad (or joystick) to select letters may have been fun when entering the Super Macho Man code in Mike Tyson's Punchout, but this isn't 1987, and you expect an easier method of typing. Of course, Sony (and third party vendors) will be happy to sell you a pricey keyboard peripheral, but do you really want to buy yet another accessory for your gaming console?