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Why (Android) Digital Signage Players Are Not Created Equal

In this past year, the digital signage industry appears to have suddenly woken up to the thrill of Android and embrace it, if somehow, it were a saviour for us all.

dsma taiwan june 2013 ajc [1]A few weeks ago I had the privilege of joining on stage, in Taiwan, Adrian Cotterill, DailyDOOH’s Editor-in-Chief, at a digital signage seminar with 300-plus attendees [2].

I nodded hard when I hear Adrian proclaiming that “launching an Android player is not innovation [3].”

These days it is easy to find plenty of (so-called) ‘free’ digital signage apps [4] available for download, and lots of cheap Android tablets, boxes, and sticks ‘reviewed’ by various digital signage consultants / bloggers / influencers BUT is this really what next-generation digital signage is all about?

From the people I spoke to everywhere in our industry, it is surprising that a ‘good’ Android player is hard to come by. It’s not about the number of CPU cores or clock speed, I’ve learned. It’s how well it meets the needs of the industry’s applications and solutions.

In a recent online interview [5] I shared my thoughts on Android and said … “There is of course a huge momentum for Android coming from the consumer market, but Android comes with a lot of challenge … [We] heavily modify the Android source code to make it more robust, and more secure.”

Here, I hope to share with you a few truths that lie underneath the naïve surface of the new wave.

I hope I have shared with you a little on why we deserved that final compliment and I hope that the next time you think about picking a hardware partner, you will consider IAdea.

I believe that our dedicated media appliances [12] and digital signboards [13] are quite simply the best hardware you can find to add value to your own digital signage solution.

3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "Why (Android) Digital Signage Players Are Not Created Equal"

#1 Comment By Jason Cremins On 25 June 2013 @ 07:22 @349

Good article John. As you have explained in detail, not all Android devices are created equal.

The rush to support Android has seen many companies head to China to source and test numerous cheap consumer devices and then select the ‘best in test’ to rebrand as their own.

Regardless of the claimed tweaks to Android OS and client software, these devices are still built for consumers and were never designed for unattended digital signage use.

It will be interesting to review the market in 5 years time and see if the companies bundling Android consumer devices with their software are still pushing the same offering, or whether the lack of stability and reliability of the devices has forced them to reconsider their strategy and opt for purpose built products from IAdea and Dension.

#2 Comment By Wallace Jackson On 25 June 2013 @ 16:09 @714

I think that 17 “flavors” or “varieties” would be a highly inaccurate representation of what API Levels are in Android OS. API Level 17 Jelly Bean 4.2.2 currently contains all 16 of the other API Levels, with a couple deprecated Java classes and constants, making it one flavor or variety all along. Android is a BRAND NEW OS Product and Technology, 5 years is young for a product like this, other OSes are two decades or more in age. So 17 revisions shows diligence on Google’s part in creating a robust OS and getting that new code out to developers frequently, and is a very good thing, not a very bad thing as it is being portrayed here. Additionally bad blocks in shoddy memory has zero to do with the OS, that is a quality control issue with China.

#3 Pingback By Android for Digital Signage » Raison d’être On 12 August 2013 @ 04:45 @240

[…] is consistent with my earlier article featured on DailyDOOH (which now ranks #2 on Google search for “Android digital signage”). There are many […]