Posts Tagged ‘Boxee’
The Boxee box had been waiting its turn to be setup since I got it just before Thanksgiving. I finally set it up last week, and here is what you need to know:
- The shape is different, unique. It is sitting there on my entertainment center – quietly, the Boxee icon glowing. The box design makes it a contender to remain on top of the entertainment center rather than being tucked away. The ID may make for interesting conversations.
- The size is certainly very small compared to the other boxes using the Intel CE4100 such as the Logitech Revue.
- Setup was not too difficult – especially compared to the GoogleTV experience. It rebooted twice to go through the upgrade process.
- Apps have to be added – these apps bring video content to you. Roku calls them channels.
- The remote control is also unique. But it also happens to be the disappointment. It is an attempt to have a minimalist design like Apple’s remote gone bad. Here are some observations on the remote control:
- The remote is NOT IR – good news because you don’t need to point it anywhere, it is RF.
- The remote has two sides. One side is the Apple-remote style (btw the functionality is identical to that of the Apple remote) and the other side has a small alpha-numeric keyboard.
- On the Apple-style side the buttons are centrally placed – and the only clue on what side is up is the Boxee logo. The Logo is placed at the lower size of the remote and hence decides the Up, Down, Right & Left keys of the remote. When you grab the remote – you need to make sure that you are holding it the right side up. I ended up pressing the wrong keys many times and a friend of mine had a similar problem.
- The arrow keys – the distance on the pad is a tad bit too much. In the age of Smartphones and Apple Remotes – the thumb is used travelling only so much when you are trying to click the keys. I had to stretch my thumb in order to effectively click the keys.
- Similarly having the keys placed centrally – you do not have enough room to hold on to the remote like you may on the Apple remote.
While my brain is unusually active on ideas, I rarely write them down. Back in May in my post The Dell Dilemma – I wrote about how Dell needs to innovate. At that time I had an idea to propose, I never got around to writing about it. The idea can be best expressed by the seeing what this Litl startup has done. Dell needs to innovate their PC and Notebook lineup to better compete with HP. John Gruber of Daring Fireball makes very good arguments on why PC companies need to out of the box innovation here and here – and gives example of what Litl has done.
For now, Dell is trying to mimic IBM and HP with the acquisition of Perot Systems to compete with them. I think that is, culturally, a much more difficult move for Dell, not to mention it is not their core competency.
Dell should learn from Litl or may be even acquire them and come out with dual function notebook or webbook. I would, though, enhance the Litl platform in the following ways:
1. A Dual-Mode machine = PC + Media Player
2. Install a Android-based OS (or may be even Ubuntu Karmic!) – increase the PC functionality on the current design of Litl
3. Make it a dual boot OR rather a dual-mode machine by providing a “dock” that has the HDMI connections to the TV
4. When the machine is docked, it would work as a Entertainment Netbook (the SW would switch upon docking)
5. Bundle a nice remote with the package (and of course the Dock)
5. License Boxee software and have it pre-loaded on the Book
6. When Undocked – it works like a PC with support for Google Docs or Open Office
Future editions could bundle the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook support to make it work like an e-Reader. The bottomline, though, is that Dell’s operational and supply chain expertise could bring down the cost of manufacturing and marketing and introduce a new category in the Computing Market.