Kogan unveils Android TV dongle and keyboard

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

Australian online retailer Kogan unveiled a new home-theatre peripheral today, designed to deliver a smart TV experience to sets that don't have internet connectivity built in.

The Kogan TV Android user interface.
(Credit: Kogan)

The Kogan Smart TV dongle plugs in to an HDMI port on a TV and launches an Android Ice Cream Sandwich platform, complete with apps, multimedia playback and web browsing. The dongle costs AU$99 and comes with WiFi connectivity. It also has a microSD card reader built into the unit, to store media for playback on the TV. Once plugged into a TV, it displays the Android interface and compatible content in a full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels).

Inside the thumb drive-sized unit, Kogan packs a 1GHz Cortex A9 processor, 512MB RAM and a Mali400 GPU. It also has a USB 2.0 port on the back of the dongle for transferring content from a PC to its 4GB of internal storage.

Kogan also offers a small, basic remote with the dongle, but has a compatible keypad with a trackpad available as an optional extra. The keypad costs AU$39, which has a full-QWERTY keyboard, a touch-sensitive trackpad, media controls and Android shortcuts.

The optional keyboard with trackpad.
(Credit: Kogan)



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JamesF2 posted a comment   

I have recently installed a Kogan Agora TV Dongle, designed to turn any digital TV into smart TV using the HDMI port. It is difficult to say how disappointing this dongle is - both in hardware and software - but I'll try to give you some idea...

1. The remote is a small cheap piece of rubbish with the feel and responsiveness of pressing blue-tac into jellyfish. Sometimes it works, more often it doesn't, and the feedback is irregular and inconsistent. You just have to keep on pressing and hope for the best.

2. The software is hugely non-intuitive and you need the patience of Job to use the software keyboard. Navigating thru the screens seems intentionally designed to frustrate you at every opportunity.

3. Despite buying the unit solely for the Quickflix application, it took three weeks and numerous phone calls before the Quickflix application became available.

4. It takes about 30 presses of the DOWNLOAD button and at least three restarts before it actually downloads.

5. Once installed, it works reasonably well, except the "Unlimited Downloads" from Quickflix actually means unlimited downloads of ancient movies. It seems you still have to pay for any movie under five years old.

6. When you power down and come back again, you find the unit has forgotten Quickflix is already installed and it asks you to install again, but I'll give you a tip. Go to Downloads and you'll find it is already there so just install it again - you can skip the 30 button presses to try to download it again, unless you'd like 2 or 3 copies of the same QUICKFLIXV1-1.APK file.

7. About the only redeeming feature is that it continues to remember your username and password so at least you don't have take another 5 minutes to re-enter that every time you re-install.

8. If you're listening to digital radio, then decide to watch a movie, the unit will continue to play the radio unless you work out how to stop the digital radio before exiting. I can assure you it is possible, but you need to have a degree in astro-physics and forget everything you know about logic before trying this.

I can't believe anyone in Kogan or Quickflix has actually tried to use this unit,otherwise they would not have let it on to the market in its current state. I have decided NOT to send it back and am going to retain it and show it to all and sundry as a wonderful example of how not to introduce technology.

I was contemplating buying 60 of these dongles to provide an enhanced multimedia experience for our motel guests, but you can imagine what sort of response I would get for giving them this sort of "experience".

I suggest Kogan and Quickflix have a close look at Apple TV as a contrasting example of how to introduce a quality product to market. The software is bug-free and the remote is a delight to use. Maybe this is why Apple shares are forging ahead while Quickflix shares have halved over the last few months.

 

TheFrenchConnector posted a reply   
Australia

That was an AWESOME review, thanks James! Got a good belly laugh out of it :-)

 

SmartTVReport.com posted a comment   
United States

I can't wait for these devices to keep coming out from other companies and I look forward for the prices to keep coming down.

 

CameronG posted a comment   

Car Pc Replacement? just need to hdmi to RCA converter and a 7" screen

 

MitchellT posted a comment   

how can they unveil a new device when its been on their website for months? but i sure as hell want one!




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