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Boot ICS on a regular HDTV with iStick for just $69

Various cheap Android powered gadgets are flourishing these days. In February, we saw Raspberry Pi which gained a lot of attention from the developer community. The Raspberry Pi comes with a Broadcom BCM2835 system on a chip (SoC) which houses an ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz processor, VideoCore IV GPU and 256 megabytes of RAM, but what makes it special is its $35 price tag.

Raspberry Pi has its own limitations in terms of raw processing power, but then came the ODROID-X, a powerful substitute for Raspberry Pi. ODROID-X, a product from Korean company Hardkernel, the device comes with a Samsung Exynos 4 processor, which is a quad-core CPU clocked at 1.4GHz. Apart from the powerful quad core processor, the board also offers 1 gigabyte of RAM, a Mali 400 GPU, six USB ports, ethernet, audio in/out, Micro HDMI and an SDHC reader, but carries a price tag of $183, which is a bit on higher side. Both of these boards can be used for home projects, including converting a normal HDTV to Android TV, but if you are one of those guys who don’t like to get their hands dirty, PQ Labs has something called iStick just for you folks.

Just to be clear, iStick has nothing to do with Apple. It is an Android powered gadget in USB flash drive form factor. iStick runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box and hooking it up with any dumb TV will yield a super smart TV booting Android.

According to iStick’s official website, the device will come with choice of processors with clock frequencies ranging from 1 GHz to 1.8 Ghz Dual Core, but currently only iStick A100 with 1 Ghz processor is available for pre order. Basic features of iStick A100 include 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory inside with a microSD slot for expansion. The iStick supports desktop resolutions up to 720p, and can stream up to 1080p Full HD movies. Thanks to its USB port, it supports wired and wireless USB Mouse/Keyboard, USB Hard Drive, USB Hubs and so on.

To make things more interesting, the manufacturer, PQ Labs, is also offering multi touch screen overlays using which the user can convert a regular TV or any screen for that matter into a huge touch screen display. With the touchscreen overlay, you can interact with the screen directly like you would do with an Android powered smartphone. How big screen will it support? iStick apparently supports up to 120″ size, which is pretty big enough for a man’s greed. You can preorder 1 GHz single core version of iStick, A100, for $69. A200 will be launching sometime later and will feature dual core processor along with some bumps in hardware specs while carrying a costlier price tag. Preorders will start shipping in August.

The above video demonstrates touchscreen overlay installation that can be coupled with iStick. The touchscreen overlay supports multitouch and detects up to 32 touch points simultaneously. If your thoughts are running wild like mine, you could be building your own Microsoft Surface like device for cheap. Of course, Microsoft Surface is way more advanced, but now that Windows 8 supports ARM architecture, how about installing Windows 8 on iStick and hooking it up with a HDTV fixed with touchscreen overlay? Also, the touch screen overlay from PQ Labs primarily works with a full sized computer, so you can just install Windows 8 on a regular PC and use it with HDTV coupled with touchscreen overlay from PQ Labs.

What are your thoughts on iStick? Would you put your 69 bucks on this device or wait for the dual core version to launch? Let us know using the comment form below.

Head to the official website here for more information.

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