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A small innovative and privately-owned manufacturer based on the Swedish west coast, launched the new TV in Swedish stores today and hopes by next year to sell the set in major overseas market like the U.S. as well.
Internet-connected TV has been around for a while from vendors like Samsung and Philips, but these devices tend to offer “walled gardens” with widgets for predetermined online content like YouTube or certain news sites rather than the free browsing and downloading possibilities of a laptop or smartphone, People of Lava’s Chief Executive Christian Svantesson said in an interview.
Whatever happens, it will happen soon, he added. “Within five years, smart TV will be a mainstream household product.”
With the exception of voice calls, the “Scandinavia” on display in the company’s Stockholm sales office allows me to do pretty much anything I would expect in a mobile smartphone. The set has a home menu with widgets including Google’s Chrome web browser, Facebook, YouTube and Google Maps. It also has its own application store where users can download additional content. There are only 20 or so apps in the store at the moment, but there will be more than 1,000 before year-end as it will be able to import many of the apps in the online Android Market store as long as they are scalable to fit a TV screen rather than a handset, according to People of Lava’s marketing director Martin Ljunggren.
The TV, which runs the rather dated Android version 1.5, known as cupcake, comes with a remote control with a built-in keyboard. The company plans an app to control it with an Android phone, said Mr. Ljunggren.