Oh Lava, how good to see you back making waves...
We spotted the Swedish home cinema expert back in September 2006 when it announced the coolest VESA mounts ever (yes, really!), but now it is on our radar again with something potentially jaw dropping: the World's first Android-powered TV set.
Surprisingly beating the impending Sony's Google TV out the door, the newly renamed/elongated 'People of Lava' has announced the 'Scandinavia' range. First coming in a 42in model and later to be followed by 47in and 55in versions, Scandinavias will run specially optimised Full HD versions of Android with direct access to the likes of Google Mail, YouTube, the Webkit browser, Facebook and Twitter.
What is less clear is overall Android Marketplace compatibility, though the fact Lava talks of a "People of Lava App-store" suggests standard apps won't run natively. That said, Android is an open platform and the company is welcoming third party developers (Spotify, please!). Furthermore, Scandinavias will have USB connections for connecting to media content (I was told MKV would likely be on the list), plus an Ethernet connection and optional WiFi.
On the outside Scandinavias will all have three HDMI ports and have Full HD LED backlit displays. We don't have any more specific information (refresh rate, contrast ratio, etc) though we should rest easy since Lava does typically play in the premium price bracket in its native Sweden. Interestingly, Lava is also going the ARM route (as opposed to Sony's Intel Atom focus) with a Cortex A8 at the Scandinavias heart. This is the same chip which so ably powers the iPhone 3GS.
Finally I must admit I'm also loving the minimalist styling and Lava says the range is constructed from "a unique blend of natural materials, such as stone and other materials. This gives the almost ceramic sense, hard as rock, but with a deep gloss never seen before."
People of Lava Scandinavia TVs will sell globally and the 42 incher will be first on the market in September with an RRP of between 2,000 and 2,500 euros. Yup, we're excited.
Update: We've got a few specs through now. All models have a 1,300:1 contrast ratios - this isn't low, it is the static (read: true) ratio which we wish all companies would be forthcoming enough to provide and should be just fine. Response times are also 5ms across the range and brightness is 450 cd/m2 for 42in and 47in models and 500 cd/m2 for the 55in.