Patriot PBO Alpine Android 2.2 Media Player Review

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Want your OS to catch on? Well, just dumb it down, it’s that simple. OK, maybe you need to throw in really easy Facebook access, as well. Think about it. How many years has it been that we've been hearing that it might be the year that Linux makes a bigger dent in the mainstream market, taking boxes away from Windows? I can’t even count at this point. What many people think was the biggest splash is probably Ubuntu, which actually did a nice job of grabbing the attention of many Windows users along the way. How did Canonical do it? Simple, they made Linux simple….and more Windows and Mac like. Which, of course, kind of upset the people who were using Linux in the first place, since they were using it because it wasn’t Windows or Mac like. Then again, the Mac OS isn’t much more than a specialized Linux distro (oh, sorry, Unix which is Linux' dad), anyway, so what would one expect? The whole thing gets very convoluted along the way, especially now that Windows 8 looks like it's mimicking Android and iOS…which are Linux and Unix kernels to begin with.

 

So, if Android uses a Linux kernel, wouldn’t that mean an awful lot of people are using Linux right now without even knowing it? In a sense, it certainly would, but it would also mean that Android has an awful lot of growth potential outside the world of smartphones. It’s light, open source and powerful. The distro can be tweaked and manipulated, and be turned into a highly specialized OS that is very task specific, and doesn’t need a ton of high priced hardware to do it very capably. Apple made an entire industry off doing this. Make the OS light, and you can use much less powerful hardware to achieve similar feeling speeds. In some cases, you can even charge ridiculous amounts of money for the hardware simply because you painted it white. The fact is, Android has this same potential. As Android popularity continues to grow, so will its development and applications it will be used in. It will probably even come in devices that begin with different letters of the alphabet, like “P”, for example.

 

With the PBO Alpine, Patriot is taking a 1080p HD Media Player and adding in the flexibility and stability of the Android 2.2 OS teamed with an ARM926 processor. The Android OS takes the PBO Alpine to levels we have not seen in a simple, stand-alone media player, adding the capability to side load thousands of apps to tailor the experience to exactly your liking. Straight out of the box, the PBO Alpine offers a rich and powerful set of features, and keeps it all contained into a very simple installation and interface. The unit itself is very uncluttered, with HDMI, and optical and stereo mini audio outputs, as well as two USB 2.0, Ethernet and optional WiFi (through USB) to connect directly to USB media and your network. An SD card slot is onboard for additional storage for apps and media, and can also be used as a media input should you wish to pull a card directly from your camera/video recorder and view instantly. File format support is incredibly extensive, going beyond the typical into almost every video, audio and photo format used today. Networking is simple and compatible with other PCs and even mobile phones on your network. Controls are provided via the included and extensive remote control, with the option to use any standard USB keyboard or mouse. The Alpine PBO comes preloaded with many IMS apps including YouTube, Picasa and a fully functional web browser for a very rounded multimedia experience.

 

 

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