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Android-based TV sticks activate as tablets, prove popular for bootleg videos in Asia

post #1 of 83
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Android-based USB and HDMI TV sticks that incorrectly activate as tablets have proven popular in Asia, where they are reportedly used to pirate video content --?and could be inaccurately skewing Android's tablet market share at the cost of Apple's iPad.

Android
"Mini PC" dongles running Android 4.2 can be bought via online resellers such as Alibaba.com.


The unofficial Android accessories, which typically run version 4.2 of the operating system and include access to the Google Play store, were highlighted by Philip Elmer-Dewitt of Apple 2.0 in a report on Monday. The diminutive devices can be found online marketed as "mini PCs," and feature connectivity options such as USB, HDMI and Bluetooth.

But their greatest use may be for pirated video content in Asia, according to "jnaina," a Singapore-based user on the Investor Village AAPL Sanity forum. According to the user, Android-based sticks can be purchased for around $100 U.S. and will come preloaded with bootleg digital copies of 20 or more movies. Additional movies can reportedly be bought from these street vendors for about $2.

According to the forum poster, the dongles are usually running Android 4.2, also known as Jelly Bean. During the activation process, the devices reportedly register as an Android tablet, though they can only be used as media players, and not for surfing the Web, checking email, or running typical tablet applications.

Android
This Android "Mini PC" is listed in the Alibaba.com "Tablet PC" section.


While there's no hard data on just how many Android TV sticks are in the wild, the fact that they are activated as tablets could help explain recent data that suggests Android tablets are beginning to overtake Apple's iPad in terms of marketshare. Despite those figures, actual tablet usage data paints a very different picture, with Apple continuing to control the lion's share of active tablet users.

For example, Web tracking data from Chitika published in July found that the iPad accounted for a whopping 84.3 percent of all tablet traffic data. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook cited that data earlier this year, when he questioned claims of newfound success for Android tablets.

"If there are lots of other tablets selling, I don't know what they're being used for," Cook said. "Because that's a pretty basic function, is Web browsing."

In July, AppleInsider described the curious statistics being used cited in global tablet market share numbers, citing analyst Benedict Evans as drawing a potential connection between such TV sticks and Android tablet activations.
post #2 of 83
Wow that was fast. lol.gif If these activate as "tablets" it might explain where IDC and others get their huge "other" tablet figures.
post #3 of 83

What a fuking joke.  So this is how Android has 80% of the phone market and 60% of tablets.  Total BS.  You could literally 'activate' thousands of 'devices' using a single PC by installing Android, activating, and then uninstall. 

 

I bet USB sticks, in car TV systems, stero systems, even appliances are being counting as Android devices.  Bottom line is web usage and PROFITS prove these market share numbers are total BS.  If Samsung really sold that many tablets they would have bragged about it in a press release.

 

This is how all these stupid research firms arrive at their market share numbers:

 

1. Get total activations from Google. Which includes USB sticks, Chromecast, refridgerators, ect. Divide by 12.  Adjust to seasonal sales.

 

2. Get a sample of what % of smartphones/tablets are Samsung, Leveno, ect.  Multiple that by total Google activations.

 

3.  Get the ACTUAL sales numbers from Apple filings.

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post #4 of 83
I have two of these sticks, and they are full blown android devices so the quote 'though they can only be used as media players, and not for surfing the Web' is absolutely wrong.

Only problem with them is they have no touchscreen, and you have to use a mouse (which works fine in most cases).

I bought them for development of a cheap plugin kiosk system where our customers only supply the touchscreen (which emulate the mouse via usb connection)
post #5 of 83
How's this news? I thought Android was synonymous for pirating stuff. What is truly pathetic is that these sticks get identified as tablets. But whatever, numbers, who needs 'em. Customer satisfaction is where the money is at, and might be the reason for the employees to create things and enjoy it while doing just that.
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post #6 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

You could literally 'activate' thousands of 'devices' using a single PC by installing Android, activating, and then uninstall.

Is that true? If so there might be a market for that. You can also buy FB 'likes'.
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post #7 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mausz View Post

I have two of these sticks, and they are full blown android devices so the quote 'though they can only be used as media players, and not for surfing the Web' is absolutely wrong.

Only problem with them is they have no touchscreen, and you have to use a mouse (which works fine in most cases).

I bought them for development of a cheap plugin kiosk system where our customers only supply the touchscreen (which emulate the mouse via usb connection)
Then why are these being counted as tablets? Shouldn't they be counted as PC's like chromebooks are?
post #8 of 83
Android Set-top Box that looks 90% like an Apple TV is easily and readily available in China. These set-top boxes runs Android ROM and are activated as 'tablets' too. 1wink.gif
post #9 of 83
Here is a photo of how an Android TV Box looks like:

http://miniandroidpc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/android-tv-box-set-top-tv-box.jpg

With sufficient volume, you can even get the factory to customise the name/logo on it. I have seen it bundled as IPTV service. 1wink.gif
post #10 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


Is that true? If so there might be a market for that. You can also buy FB 'likes'.

 

It is true.  All you need is a PC, USB stick, and Android software which is free.

 

Install Android on USB stick.

Activate.

Uninstall.

Repeat.

 

I don't know how widespread this is but in China I'm sure black market vendors install millions of Android OS on USB sticks every month.  Then these are counting as phone or tablet sales.

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post #11 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

It is true.

Wow. Well, that's one way to stick it to the competition ¡
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post #12 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaicka View Post

Here is a photo of how an Android TV Box looks like:

http://miniandroidpc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/android-tv-box-set-top-tv-box.jpg

With sufficient volume, you can even get the factory to customise the name/logo on it. I have seen it bundled as IPTV service. 1wink.gif

That is one fugly MacMini.
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post #13 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaicka View Post

Here is a photo of how an Android TV Box looks like:

http://miniandroidpc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/android-tv-box-set-top-tv-box.jpg

With sufficient volume, you can even get the factory to customise the name/logo on it. I have seen it bundled as IPTV service. 1wink.gif

What Google hath wrought!

Try harder not to be evil . . .
post #14 of 83
The irony here is these same research firms were probably the same ones refusing to accept an iPad was a computer so as to keep Window's PC numbers way ahead of Apple's sales numbers. Remember here on the AI blog, how the argument raged?

I have to ask though ... if these research companies are as eager to please those that pay them as DED clearly pointed out in his article over the weekend, why doesn't Apple play the same game and pay these jokers for research to show the truth?
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Long on AAPL so biased
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post #15 of 83
Not just in Asia: I've seen these dongles in the Manhattan & Flushing, Queens Chinatowns in NYC and whenn I passed by Boston Chinatown earlier this year.
post #16 of 83
if you cant beat em, join em. apple should release a $99 iStick and flood the market

make it an iPad dongle that plugs into a PC, Mac or TV and runs iOS apps.
post #17 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaporland View Post

if you cant beat em, join em. apple should release a $99 iStick and flood the market

make it an iPad dongle that plugs into a PC, Mac or TV and runs iOS apps.

That wouldn't do it. Apple would have to release some iOS-based code that they count in their numbers, like the Apple TV OS which already sells for $99, but make it free to download and be able to load on an SD card, USB flash drive, CD, DVD, another HDD/SSD, VM, etc.
post #18 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by akqies View Post


That wouldn't do it. Apple would have to release some iOS-based code that they count in their numbers, like the Apple TV OS which already sells for $99, but make it free to download and be able to load on an SD card, USB flash drive, CD, DVD, another HDD/SSD, VM, etc.

 

and totally ruin their ecosystem premium?  Hell no.

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post #19 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

and totally ruin their ecosystem premium?  Hell no.

To be clear I was not advocating any such move.
post #20 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

The irony here is these same research firms were probably the same ones refusing to accept an iPad was a computer so as to keep Window's PC numbers way ahead of Apple's sales numbers. Remember here on the AI blog, how the argument raged?

I have to ask though ... if these research companies are as eager to please those that pay them as DED clearly pointed out in his article over the weekend, why doesn't Apple play the same game and pay these jokers for research to show the truth?

 

these 'reports' can affect the stock short-term.  Long term it won't.

 

Apple would rather spend their money developing great products or returning value to shareholders.  Any short-term dips in the stock price won't hurt Apple or its investors because they just can't buy the shares for cheaper.

 

It does suck for option buyers though.

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post #21 of 83
I like how they proudly display the green trash can logo on their pirate sticks. For consumers in Asian countries, piracy is the "normal" content distribution network.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #22 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35 View Post
 

 

and totally ruin their ecosystem premium?  Hell no.

 

also won't matter since Apple reports audited figures for units sold by product line.

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post #23 of 83
Here is the easy solution to this problem unless a publicly trade company or a company has been publicly certified reports their sales and it can be verified their number are not included in the market size calculations.

We all said it before, Google is reporting activation, and as we have seen it does not translate into an actual sale of a products. one phone could be activated multiply times.

Google has been giving anyone and everyone Android to use it how they like, but it does not mean that it being use as designed since it can be modified since it is open source.
post #24 of 83
This is great, because it means that all operating system data is skewed and totally unreliable. Therefore all the data analysis created by IDC and Strategic Analytics and the other fake data manufacturers is sheer garbage.

Once again all we are left with is the rule that if you want to know what is happening you have to follow the money. And apparently, it is all flowing towards Apple.
post #25 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

Here is the easy solution to this problem unless a publicly trade company or a company has been publicly certified reports their sales and it can be verified their number are not included in the market size calculations.

We all said it before, Google is reporting activation, and as we have seen it does not translate into an actual sale of a products. one phone could be activated multiply times.

Google has been giving anyone and everyone Android to use it how they like, but it does not mean that it being use as designed since it can be modified since it is open source.

I'm not sure that's true any more is it?  I think Google counts an activation when a device connects to the Play Store and is identified by a unique device ID which never changes, so a phone being wiped and reactivated would only count as a single activation.

post #26 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by reefoid View Post
 

I'm not sure that's true any more is it?  I think Google counts an activation when a device connects to the Play Store and is identified by a unique device ID which never changes, so a phone being wiped and reactivated would only count as a single activation.

 

not if you uninstall the OS from the USB.

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post #27 of 83

Yeah, not sure about USB devices so you may well be right.

 

Although Maestro64 stated that phones could be counted in activations multiple times which is not correct.

post #28 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacAir View Post

Where do you live?

In my opinion 80% Market share for Android is conservative. iPhones are rare in most countries.

Rare not because it is undesirable, but because its unaffordable.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #29 of 83

I said it before ... I say it again ...

 

android is a crappiest product ever copied from iOS by some jackass named andy rubin.

 

and now that it's in the hand of google, the dumbest company ever born which does nothing but selling Ads to survive, it must be banned.

 

Look at it very carefully and you'll notice that it won't require Einstein's brain to realize that android is here to be used to steal people's private info and much much MORE.

....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

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....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

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post #30 of 83

AppleInsider - since you know this, why do you still report "activations" as "sales" and talk about android market share?

 

It's nothing less than dishonest.

 

A sale is a sale, an activation is not.

 

If you want to compare activations, Apple has activated 5Billion devices to androids 1Billion -- if you use the same method of calculating them (e.g.: total number of devices sold times total number of OS releases.) 

post #31 of 83
I find this surprising and personally embarrassing...


1) I have seen the Android "numbers" advantages (market share growth) and assumed that they were wrong.

2) I have seen the summary Analyst reports of these "numbers" and assumed that the Analysts were [incorrectly counting or classifying and] skewing the results -- and doing a disservice to their customers by "telling 'em what they wanted to hear".

3) I have read and believed articles challenging the "numbers" and Analyst reports -- implying that those who provided the "numbers" were obfuscating, incompetent or lying.


The above all matched my personal knowledge, beliefs and biases.

Never once, did I ask myself: "What if the "numbers" are right?"


Why did it take a journalist, Phillip-Elmer DeWitt to ask the question -- then take the next step to investigate?

Apparently, some "answers" were readily attainable via a little skepticism and some web searches...


It well may be that the "numbers" are correct!

Thanks to Phillip-Elmer DeWitt, we have a better understanding of what comprises the "numbers".


I suspect that, in the future, the Analysts and Reporters/Article Authors will exercise due diligence when gathering, analyzing, reporting and examining these "numbers"...


I know I will!

Edited by Dick Applebaum - 11/18/13 at 9:05am
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post #32 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by akqies View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaporland View Post

if you cant beat em, join em. apple should release a $99 iStick and flood the market

make it an iPad dongle that plugs into a PC, Mac or TV and runs iOS apps.

That wouldn't do it. Apple would have to release some iOS-based code that they count in their numbers, like the Apple TV OS which already sells for $99, but make it free to download and be able to load on an SD card, USB flash drive, CD, DVD, another HDD/SSD, VM, etc.

It's been a while, but the last time I JailBroke an AppleTV it was running iOS. AIR, the current AppleTV runs an A5 APU.

So, If Apple (or the "numbers" gathers) wanted to, they could count AppleTVs as part of the iOS platform. AIR, 14 million AppleTVs have been announced as sold.

Also, it may be that other Apple devices like Time Capsule or Airports may run iOS...  Then there's the iPod Touch...
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post #33 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mausz View Post

I have two of these sticks, and they are full blown android devices so the quote 'though they can only be used as media players, and not for surfing the Web' is absolutely wrong.

Only problem with them is they have no touchscreen, and you have to use a mouse (which works fine in most cases).

Makes sense.  But Apple is competing against touchscreen tablets, which is not this market.  It's also interesting that, if these things are surfing the web, then they don't help explain why there are so many non-Apple tablets but Apple has 84% of the web usage from tablets.

post #34 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disturbia View Post

I said it before ... I say it again ...

android is a crappiest product ever copied from iOS by some jackass named andy rubin.

and now that it's in the hand of google, the dumbest company ever born which does nothing but selling Ads to survive, it must be banned.

Look at it very carefully and you'll notice that it won't require Einstein's brain to realize that android is here to be used to steal people's private info and much much MORE.
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #35 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacAir View Post

Where do you live?

In my opinion 80% Market share for Android is conservative. iPhones are rare in most countries.

So you live in "most countries" now?
post #36 of 83
I wonder if this is why 10 million tablets were added to the competitions sales tallies.
post #37 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

It's been a while, but the last time I JailBroke an AppleTV it was running iOS. AIR, the current AppleTV runs an A5 APU.

So, If Apple (or the "numbers" gathers) wanted to, they could count AppleTVs as part of the iOS platform. AIR, 14 million AppleTVs have been announced as sold.

Also, it may be that other Apple devices like Time Capsule or Airports may run iOS...  Then there's the iPod Touch...

With the number of "activations" Android gets the Apple TV wouldn't make a dent. Aren't alll of them since the 2nd gen Apple TV less than the iPhone 5S for this holiday quarter?
post #38 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by akqies View Post

That wouldn't do it. Apple would have to release some iOS-based code that they count in their numbers, like the Apple TV OS which already sells for $99, but make it free to download and be able to load on an SD card, USB flash drive, CD, DVD, another HDD/SSD, VM, etc.

nope, put some memory and an A7 chip on it and use the host machine's KB, screen, touchpad, etc for the interface

you're joking, right? GIVE away iOS?
post #39 of 83
Just because they're not real tablets doesn't mean it's not a product that could eventually dent Apple. Let's not forget that one of the biggest reasons for a tablet is media consumption. If these things are popular enough then apps will be made for them (mouse interface and all). These things are pieces of cr** but that doesn't mean they can't tilt the balance of influence toward android.

Look at the sh**ty PCs from the 80s compared to the Macs of the time.
Edited by Serendip - 11/18/13 at 10:24am
post #40 of 83

$100 gets you 20 movies. Additional movies are $2 each. I conclude that China needs NetFlix (or something like it) soon. This is what everyone but the content owners have known forever. If you sell access to content at a reasonable price and make it easy to use, people will buy it. As it stands they make almost nothing in China, India and other highly populated places in the world yet those same people are willing to pay if the price is reasonable and the access is easy.

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