While I/O’s main goal has always been to inform software developers of Google innovations in various operating systems, apps and platforms, the search giant diversified the scope of San Francisco announcements in recent years, also focusing on hardware.
But yesterday’s conference was different, not only by taking place in Mountain View. At the same time, there was nothing new to show off on the Nexus front, and Android Wear’s biggest update yet came without a single revamped smartwatch.
The Amazon Echo-rivaling Google Home thus flew solo to the Shoreline Amphitheatre in terms of fresh hardware, and even the Google Assistant-powered smart home controller has several months to go until launching commercially.
The same goes for Xiaomi’s latest Mi Box, which didn’t get its unveiling during the I/O keynote, but hours later, via Twitter and the company’s official website. Its official US website, that is, so the big news is of course that the Android TV set-top box will land stateside in a few months.
Retail pricing remains under wraps, though knowing Xiaomi, NVIDIA and its otherwise affordable Shield Android TV microconsole are in great danger.
The Xiaomi Mi Box can stream 4K video too, and it handles up to 60 frames per second, playing HDR content from popular services like Netflix, Hulu, Plex, Vudu, YouTube, and many, many others. It’s Google Cast-compatible as well, letting you easily and wirelessly sync your Android device, iPhone or iPad to your large-screened TV.
The super-tiny, ultra-lightweight box comes with a Bluetooth voice-controlled remote as standard, and separately, you can buy a Mi Game Controller to turn this into the ultimate living-room entertainment and gaming powerhouse. Its specifications include Android TV 6.0 support, a quad-core Cortex-A53 processor, 2GB RAM, and 8GB internal storage, so keeping the price low, probably around the $150 mark, shouldn’t be a problem.