Consider the versatility of a product like the Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku, offering unlimited access to all your favorite video streaming apps and more. Take that and stick it inside a small lightweight projector with a built-in battery. Add a pair of Bluetooth speakers and you have a device that's still not quite as amazing as ODIN.
This single Kickstarter project promises to replace your TV, computer, set-top box and all the cords that connect them with a small device that weighs under two pounds. It includes a built-in 3000mAh battery that lasts two hours—long enough to watch an average-length movie—though you'll probably keep it plugged in most of the time. It can even store 16GB of content, and if that's not enough it comes with a pair of USB ports so you can plug in a thumb drive. There's also an HDMI port for streaming video straight from your computer or video game console.
ODIN runs a near stock version of Android, meaning you have access to every app in Google Play from Chrome to Candy Crush. It comes with a built-in trackpad along with the regular Home and Back buttons found on any Android device. The built-in speakers are loud enough for regular use, and also let ODIN double as a portable speaker with eight hours of battery life.
The ODIN prototype demoed for me recently by creator Alex Yoo runs stock Android version 4.2, but the final model will run Android 4.4 KitKat with a light skin on top. The simple white homepage shows your recently used apps while tabs at the bottom group applications by genre. A second settings page lets you connect to Wi-Fi, control Bluetooth and more. Yoo also promises to keep pushing out software updates as quickly as possible, which should be relatively easy without any carriers slowing down the process.
The biggest and perhaps only drawback here is ODIN's resolution, which comes in at just 854 x 480 pixels. That's not much compared to most high-end projectors or even some mid-range models that cost about the same as this one. The trade-off of course is the Android OS that comes with ODIN. The video quality also looked fine during my demo with the device. Colors are clear if a little dim, and even with a decent amount of natural light in the room we could still watch a scene from Star Trek Into Darkness on Netflix without any issues.
Future ODIN models could be smaller and lighter, offer more storage, and might even come with LTE support for streaming on the go. Yoo's not making any promises though. For now he's entirely focused on delivering this first generation model by December 2014. There's also a mysterious follow-up product called INO, though Yoo isn't ready to reveal any details just yet.
You can order your own ODIN on Kickstarter for as little as $499. Yoo plans to sell the projector for $895 after launch, though down the road the price could drop a bit if he can score a distribution deal with a big retailer like RadioShack or Best Buy. There's also plenty of swag for backers who don't have $499 to spare, including t-shirts ($35) and leather iPhone cases ($40).
There are a few risks, like with any Kickstarter project. The company already has a production team established in Shenzhen, China, though delays are still possible. The biggest risk, however, may come from underestimating early demand. If more than 50,000 units are pre-ordered it could bottleneck production, but with five months of advance notice Yoo says there's plenty of time to tweak his shipping infrastructure if necessary.
We see a lot of interesting devices pop up on Kickstarter, but ODIN is a truly unique product. If you're a fan of Android, a fan of projectors or just a Netflix enthusiast this offer may just be too good to ignore. If you need more convincing check out the ODIN video below and head over to Kickstarter for more details.
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