Motorola Powering Portable Set-Top Box With Android (UPDATED: They're Not)

Motorola is building a generally unremarkable "au Box" portable set-top box for Japanese electronics company KDDI. But one part of their plan stands out: It'll run Android. UPDATE: According to Motorola, this KDDI box will not run Android. See their full response below.

Motorola Clarifies KDDI "au BOX" based on KreaTV platform for set-top devices, not Android.

Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) would like to clarify that contrary to some recent reports, the set tops supplied to KDDI by Motorola to deliver the operator's "au BOX" service are not based on Android. The platform used is in fact Motorola's KreaTV platform for set tops which is based on Linux and there are no plans to produce an Android-based version.

The "au BOX" service allows mobile customers to transfer content between their home entertainment systems and their mobile devices. Motorola's KreaTV™ open software platform for set-top devices is designed to enable operator customers to easily add new functionality and services at any time, allowing the system to grow according to their business needs and customer demands. KreaTV is compatible with a wide range of OS middleware and Digital Rights Management (DRM), and supports multiple different video formats ranging from MPEG-2 SD to H.264 HD, DVR, and hybrid.

The powerful multimedia set top also offers video encoding capabilities to allow users to upload video from their personal video recorders and then transfer it to a mobile handset. It can also play DVDs when linked to an external monitor. The set top can additionally serve as a portal for internet web browsing, enabling users to access a wide range services and user generated content in addition to the option of purchasing music and video content from online stores.

We've been told from the start that Android—essentially just a lightweight Linux distribution—would make its way to a variety of devices aside from cellphones, but most people took that to mean we'd see Google's mobile OS on netbooks, tablets or MIDs. Those are coming, but it looks like Motorola, with this unexpected use, could beat them all out of the gate.

As for the box: It's a simple set-top unit with an emphasis on mobility. What that means, other than small size, is that the box has integrated speakers, a wide variety of connectors and even an internal optical drive that can play DVDs or rip CDs to the device's hard drive. It's Japan-only and won't arrive until CEATEC in October, at least, but it's interesting too see just how wide Android's applications are, in practice. [Android Guys via CNET]