When I was writing about the Arduino not too long ago I revisited a belief about consumer electronics that I’ve held for quite some time. I say consumer electronics, but I feel this applies to any number of consumer-oriented products. The basic idea is that all consumer electronics eventually evolve to the point of advancing style over substance.
The reason that the Arduino brought up this point was because I was surprised to see how strongly the sales continue to be for the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and kit PC’s in general. While they are modestly afflicted with the burden of style, like Desktop Computers, they manage to endure and evolve despite not being considered aesthetic.
The life cycle of all technology products go something like this: In the first or startup phase, you have gritty, unfinished, metal and plastic wrapped around a core product. It is the realm of the early adopter, hobbyist and influencer. It finds audience from those who’d be expected to know about such things.
In the early years of Apple Computer, they were firmly in the realm of the hobbyist. It’s hard to imagine today but Apple I computers were initially just printed circuit boards. If you were lucky enough to be around Mountain View, California, you might have been able to buy one from from the Byte Shop that included a handmade wooden case. Back in the 1970’s, if you wanted a personal computer you had limited options and this was clearly one of the best among them.
In the second phase of a product life cycle widespread acceptance, competition, expanding features and ease of use. In the case of Apple Computer, maturity meant creating the Macintosh. In order to reach more buyers they needed something in a friendlier package with an easier to use approach. This is at the time where they started focusing on form, bringing in industrial designer Frog Design to style the Mac product line.
This leads us to the third phase where style takes precedence over substance. In this phase, technological improvements come in incremental changes. In the latest stages of this phase you witness refinement leading toward obsolescence. You see this in Apple products today. Lacking in any great technological advancement, they focus on things meant to appeal to the same people who shop at Nordstrom.
I pick on Apple because they are an easy target, and they’ve been around long enough for us to see the entire cycle play out. For them, it hasn’t been limited to Desktop Computers. If you look at every product line from Tablets to Phones to Music Players to Watches, the cycle of technology fashion is played out in full.
So what does all this have to do with Stick Computers and TV Boxes? I’m getting to that. In order to see how this applies you have to get a good visual and also understand that there are certain differences between consumer electronics that elongate or exaggerate certain phases of their cycles due to product characteristics.
The big problem for Stick Computers is a simple one. There is not very far to go in this market in terms of styling. A TV Stick is a tiny piece of plastic that is mostly never seen. You attach it to the back of your TV and never see it again unless something goes wrong. That doesn’t make for a great late cycle product. It’s also too small to do much styling with. In short, they become boring.
TV Boxes, on the other hand, have the advantage of both being bigger, and visible. At least there are opportunities for styling and customization that differentiate it from every other piece of electronics in your setup. We’re only beginning to enter this phase now, as the technology plateaus and the differentiation comes in the form of decoration.
That brings me back to the Arduino, or probably more appropriately the Raspberry Pi. One of the reasons for it’s enduring popularity, and the reason it will continue to be popular for many years is because it is at the same time functional, expandable and customizable (style-able you might say) There are far more choices for cases and accessories than there ever will be Raspberry Pi computers.
The same reasons apply to desktop computers and explain why they endure in the many varieties we have today. There is a resurgence in the hobbyist exploration of gaming machines and also built-in desk computers. It’s a sort of compromise between the evolution of the product line into late-phase style gurus and early phase hobbyists.
In recognition of that revelation, I present to you a box that clearly takes styling as a priority, even though it’s internal specs are currently up to most market standards. If you want something that works well, and looks good sitting next to your monitor, check this little guy out.
Boddenly Android 6.0 TV BOX
- Android 6.0
- Amlogic S912 Octa-core cortex-A53 and
- GPU Octa-core Mali-T820MP
- 2GB DDR3 RAM + 16GB EMMC Flash ROM
- Supports hardware 3D graphics acceleration and 4K Ultimate HD video
- Comes with the latest Wi-Fi module AP6330 (802.11 n)
- 2 USB Port
- WIFI: 2.4G + 5G +Bluetooth
Some Customer Reviews
This Android TV box is the real deal. It’s fast, has lots of main memory (flash) and 2GB RAM. The important apps came pre-installed and many Kodi plugins were as well. Apps install and update like lightning. Boots up very fast and streams smoothly.
Every works well with streaming content from both my home server and the Internet. I experienced no studdering problems at all and no heat problems (just warm).
This Android Box works great! Very responsive! To make is easier for me, I did completely uninstall the Kodi that it comes with and install a fresh copy from Google Play. Once I installed a clean copy of Kodi 17 I put my favorite build on it and it WORKS GREAT!