Samsung Evolution Kit, smart TV and the colliding worlds of phones, PCs and televisions

10 Jan 2013
Samsung-Evolution-Kit_thumb.jpg
Samsung-Evolution-Kit_thumb.jpg

CES has always been associated with TV, but this is the first year I can recall so many companies’ press conferences and announcements being dominated by the big screen that sits in our living room. Hell, they’re even upgradeable: we saw the Samsung Evolution Kit, which upgrades the “brain” in your TV so you can use this year’s big features.

Samsung is being coy about the exact silicon inside the kit, but we know that the dual-core processor in last year’s sets will be upgraded to quad-core, and that memory has also been increased – we believe to 2GB.

Even the installation process of the Evolution Kit sounds identical to adding a new piece of PC hardware: you fit the main module to into its slot (in this case, the rear of the TV) and then wait as it goes through an automated install procedure. After 10-15 minutes, you should be up and running.

If the processor, RAM and graphics are like the sort of technology you’ll find inside a PC or tablet, it’s no coincidence. Take a look at the latest interface on Samsung’s TVs and note how similar it is to a touchscreen device.

Samsung-Smart-Hub_thumb.jpg

But let’s not get trapped. Just because you can access online services doesn’t mean you should. Why do I want to check Facebook and Twitter updates on a TV screen when I’ve got a smartphone or tablet that does the job better?

Where it does make sense is when that big screen is a better home for a service than what might have been its traditional base. Video calling arguably makes more sense if both parties are sitting on their respective sofas, watching a big screen.

The same is true of video-on-demand services such as YouTube. It will one day seem very quaint that we once watched such streams on laptops and desktop PCs.

But back to the Samsung Evolution Kit. Let’s extrapolate a few years and imagine a world where it’s got terabytes of built-in storage (or an ultra-fast connection to the internet where we now store all our data), a 16-core CPU, graphics capability far above what we have now and so much RAM it’s not even talked about any more.

What’s to stop us using the TV to edit videos or develop software or any one of the numerous tasks that currently resides with our Windows PC? Apart, that is, from our partner wanting to watch Coronation Street.

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