At Google's annual developer conference Google I/O, which kicked off on Wednesday, Chinese electronics company Xiaomi, which is best known for its smartphones, announced an Android set-top box powered by Android TV. On Wednesday at I/O, Google VP Clay Bavor also announced that Xiaomi will be one of the first Android phone makers to have a device that's compatible with Android Daydread, Google's new VR platform.
The newly announced Mi Box, which will launch "soon" in the US at an unspecified price, is not the company's first foray into smart televisions. Apart from its phones, Xiaomi also has a popular line of televisions it calls Mi TV, which are also powered by Android - Xiaomi claims to have sold over 10 million smart TVs and set top boxes since 2013, though the Mi Box will be the first one that's running Android TV.
"This is a significant milestone for Xiaomi and I am really excited to be working closely with Google to bring such a great product to our fans in the US," said Hugo Barra, Vice President, Xiaomi Global, speaking about the Xiaomi Mi Box. " I believe US consumers will truly enjoy the Android TV experience on Mi Box, which brings stunning 4K HDR video and a wide variety of content to your living room," he added.
The Mi Box is a standalone set-top box running on Android TV, and can be used to stream 4K video content. According to the company, the set-top box can stream 4K content at 60 frames per second, and supports the HDR10 standard and the updated HDMI 2.0a specification. HDR (high dynamic range) technology improves brightness, contrast, and colour without any loss to sharpness or clarity; HDMI 2.0a is the latest version of HDMI cables, which is required to connect the set top box to an HDR-capable television. The Mi Box also supports audio standards such as Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Surround Sound.
The Mi Box is powered by a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU and Mali 450 GPU, as well as 2GB of RAM, and comes with 8GB of storage built in. Additional storage can be connected via USB. The Mi Box ships with a Bluetooth remote control that supports voice search, and it will also be compatible with the Mi Game controller.
The Android TV-based system will be able to run all the typical apps you'd expect such as Netflix and YouTube, and it will also come with streaming apps that offer special perks, inluding Sling TV, Pandora, Vudu, and more. It will launch first in the US, with other markets to follow, but further details were not announced at the launch at Google I/O.