NanoTech Entertainment is accepting pre-orders on a $299 4K UltraHD media and game player device that runs Android 4.2 on an quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 SoC. Designed for gaming, multimedia play, and web browsing, the Nuvola NP-1 may well be the world’s most advanced Android media player.
The Nuvola NP-1 is billed as the world’s first streaming 4K UltraHD (3840 x 2160-pixel) media player, and if it ships as planned in August, it may also end up being one of the first production devices based on Nvidia’s Tegra 4 SoC. The NP-1 is equipped with 2GB of RAM, 16GB flash, 802.11n 2×2 MiMo, and gigabit Ethernet, USB, and HDMI ports, and offers remote control and handheld game console options. Nuvola offers a variety of IPTV services and applications, including a 4G UltraTV gaming service available to Nuvola customers (see farther below).
Nuvola NP-1 media player with 4K UltraHD support
(click image to enlarge)
Perhaps the closest competition is Nvidia’s own Tegra 4-based Nvidia Shield Android game console, which was delayed until later this month with a reduced price of $299, the same as the Nuvola NP-1. While the Shield can hook up to a 4K UltraHD TV to stream 3840 x 2160 content, it is primarily designed to be a handheld game player for mobile use.
The Tegra 4, which competes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 and Samsung’s Exynos 5, features four Cortex-A15 cores and a 72-core GeForce GPU (graphics processing unit). NanoTech Entertainment did not announce a clock rate for the Nuvola NP-1, but the Nvidia Shield is rated at 1.9GHz. The device is also one of the first processors to offer native 4K video support, including support for security and digital rights management, with features including HDCP, says NanoTech Entertainment.
The Nuvola NP-1 is equipped with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 16GB of flash (5.7GB of which is used by Android 4.2), and a microSD slot. Additional I/O includes a gigabit Ethernet port, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.
To stream 4K UltraHD video from sources like the NP-1’s own bundled NanoFlix UHD channel, you need a 4K UltraHD TV, which start at $1,000, but are more typically priced at $2,000 to $5,000. You also need a 6Mbps or greater pipe to the Internet, with 10Mbps recommended for lossless 4K video. On the device end, the supplied gigabit Ethernet port is up to the task, as is Nuvola’s bandwidth-optimized 2×2 MiMo version of 802.11n, says NanoTech Entertainment. The Nuvola NP-1 currently uses H.264 compression for 4K video, and will be automatically updated with the latest H.265 (HEVC) codec as it becomes available, says the company.
Nuvola NP-1’s optional RF-10 remote and GP-1 gamepad
The Nuvola NP-1 ships with a dual-transmitter infrared remote, which is touted for wide-angle usage. An optional RF-10 remote features an integrated keyboard and mouse, as well as a microphone and earpiece for Skype calls. The device’s Bluetooth 4.0 connection enables users to hook up a variety of game consoles, and NanoTech Entertainment offers its own optional GP-1 Gamepad handheld console, which provides a 30-foot range and adjustable vibration feedback for better battery life.
The $299 price is somewhat offset by a wide variety of bundled applications, including Netflix, Hulu, XBMC, Pandora, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Preinstalled gaming titles include Repulze, Tank Hero, and more. According to NanoTech, users “can also connect with a variety of Bluetooth enabled console-grade game controllers and access a catalog of games from Google Play and Nvidia TegraZone.”
Nuvola NP-C commercial model
The Nuvola NP-1 will also be available in a similar rackmount “commercial” version dubbed the Nuvola NP-C (shown below). The NP-1 and NP-C differ in their packaging and apps configuration. The consumer model comes with a set of end user apps, whereas the commercial version “is setup to boot into our commercial player only,” says NanoTech Media founder David Foley.
Nuvola NP-C media player commercial model
(click image to enlarge)
Summary of specs
Specifications listed for the Nuvola NP-1 include:
- Processor — Nvidia Tegra 4 (4x Cortex-A15 cores with 72-core GeForce GPU)
- 2GB DDR3 RAM
- 16GB flash (10.3GB available to user)
- microSD slot
- Networking — gigabit Ethernet
- Wireless — 802.11n (dual-band 2×2 MiMo); Bluetooth 4.0
- Other I/O:
- HDMI 1.4
- USB 2.0
- USB 3.0
- RF-10 remote with keyboard, mouse, mic, earpiece
- GP-1 Gamepad handheld console with 30-foot range via Bluetooth, adjustable vibration feedback, backlit buttons
- Power — DV 5V
- Dimensions — 100 x 90 x 30mm
- Multimedia support:
- Streaming 4K UltraHD (3840 x 2160), HD (1920 x 1080), SD (720 x 480)
- MP4, MKV, AVI, MOV, OOG (H.264) video support
- AAC, FLAC, MP3, WAV audio support
- BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG image support
- Operating system — Android 4.2
- Apps preinstalled on NP-1 consumer model:
- Video — 10 bundled movies, NanoTech Video Player, NetFlix, Hulu, Fun Little Movies, VODWiz, Amazon Prime, YouTube, IMDB, NanoTales, XBMC
- Audio — Pandora, iHeartRadio
- Games — Repulze, Angry Birds, Mini Golf Matchup, Life is Magic, Steampunk Racing 3D, Tank Hero
- Social & cloud support — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, NanoVOX, Skype
NanoTech Entertainment offers a variety of IPTV streaming services such as the NanoFlix UHD channel, and applications loaded on the Nuvola NP-1, including the NanoTech Video Player, NanoTales, and NanoVOX. Its NanoTech Gaming Labs is a “virtual manufacturer” that develops and licenses technology and games to third parties. NanoTech Media develops and licenses proprietary technology to publishers, and NanoTech Communications develops and sells proprietary apps and technology in the mobile and consumer space, says the company.
In addition to the NanoTech’s Nuvola NP-1 and Nvidia Shield, the other announced Tegra 4 device on the horizon is ZTE’s Android-based Geek smartphone. It was initially unveiled as an Intel Clover Trail+-driven phone due to ship in Europe in the third quarter. However, earlier this week, ZTE posted some images that confirmed an almost identical ZTE Geek U988S phone, but running a Tegra 4, headed for China Mobile. Presumably, the x86-based model is still on target for Europe, although ZTE offered no more details.
NanoTech is taking pre-orders for the Nuvola NP-1 for $299. The media player will be available for pre-order on Amazon later this month, and NanoTech will roll out its own corporate retail outlets across the U.S., starting with San Jose, Calif. in August. More information and pre-orders may be found on the company’s Nuvola website. More about NanoTech is available on the NanoTech Entertainment website.