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Android signage player supports Apple iBeacon

Apr 30, 2014 — by Eric Brown 807 views

Noxel’s Android-based Xtream A700 signage player integrates Apple’s BLE-based iBeacon indoor positioning tech with Noxel’s cloud-based signage service.

Noxel claims its Xtream A700 is the most powerful Android signage computer around, and considering its quad-core system-on-chip and the relative novelty of Android signage, we imagine they are correct. Aside from the sheer performance, the device is notable for its use of Apple’s iBeacon indoor positioning technology, which can provide precise location information via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). The device’s iBeacon support enables retailers and brand marketers to provide in-store navigation and location-specific push messaging to smartphones, says the company.

Xtream A700 top and edges
(click images to enlarge)

Like Noxel’s other Android- and Linux-based Xtream signage players (see farther below), the Xtream A700 is designed to work with the company’s cloud-based Xtream digital signage content management system. This “highly secure,” browser-based SaaS (Software as a Service) platform is used by more than 200 companies in a dozen countries, says Noxel.

Xtream provides real-time system monitoring, reporting, triggered content, a widget galley, and an “intuitive” layout designer, says the company. Setup is said to be easy, and the system can be configured for individual access and user rights.


iBeacon was announced by Apple last September as part of iOS 7. The technology uses Bluetooth 4.0 BLE’s proximity sensing to transfer a unique identifier to send push notifications and precise location information. The technology, which works at up to 100 feet, is also available to Android users, thanks to Radius Networks’s release of an Android iBeacon SDK under an open source Apache 2 license. Noxel is likely using a licensed iBeacon peripheral such as the Radius Networks RadBeacon USB module pictured at the right.

The Xtream A700 runs Android 4.2.2 on a 1.6GHz, quad-core, Cortex-A9 processor, which is provided with a 500MHz Mali-400 GPU. This sounds like the Rockchip RK3188 SoC, which is popular on Android media players such as the Rikomagic MK802IV and Ugoos UM2. The Xtream A700 supports OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 and OpenVG 1.1 protocols, and runs on about 5 Watts, says Noxel.

The 5.6 x 3.7 x 0.8-inch signage computer ships with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of flash, and also offers flash expansion. WiFi is provided, along with the BLE-based iBeacon module, and although the spec list doesn’t mention it, the photo suggests there might also be an Ethernet port. Otherwise, you get a pair of USB ports, an HDMI port, A/V outputs, and an IR port for communicating with the supplied remote.

Specifications listed for the Xtream A700 include:

  • Processor — Quad-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A9 SoC with 500MHz ARM Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB NAND flash
  • Storage — flash “expansion slot”
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0 BLE via iBeacon module; antenna
  • Other I/O:
    • HDMI 1.3 port
    • A/V outputs
    • 2x USB host ports
  • Other features — IR remote control; supports landscape and portrait modes
  • Power — 5W typical consumption
  • Weight — 150 g
  • Dimensions — 5.6 x 3.7 x 0.8 in.
  • Operating system — Android 4.2.2

Three more Xtream signage players

Other Noxel Xtream players include the Xtream ST1000 and touchscreen-based Xtream DS-T2000, both of which run Android 4.2.2, as well as the Linux-based Xtream DS600. All the devices work with the company’s Xtream cloud service.

  • Xtream ST1000 — The Xtream ST1000 has identical processor specs as the A700, but is clocked to 1.5GHz and is said to run at 4 Watts. Memory and storage are also identical, and ports are similar, but one of the USB ports is OTG instead of host, and there’s no A/V output. The ST1000’s size is currently listed incorrectly on Noxel’s hardware page; however, from the photo we estimate the device’s dimensions to be 4.5 x 1.7 x 0.5 inches.

    Xtream ST1000
    (click image to enlarge)
  • Xtream DS-2000 — The Android-based Xtream DS-T2000 is a touchscreen signage tablet available in screen sizes of 16-, 19-, or 22 inches. It’s limited to a dual-core SoC, but offers the same memory and storage as the other Android devices. The device ships with WiFi, as well as Ethernet and USB ports.

    Xtream DS-T2000
    (click image to enlarge)
    Xtream DS600 — The Xtream DS600, also referred to as the NXDS600, runs proprietary Linux on a MIPS-based Sigma Designs SMP865x SoC, and supports up to 1080p resolution. It ships with 512MB of DDR2 RAM, 256MB of NAND flash, and an SD slot. In addition to HDMI, this model offers DVI, Component, and Composite ports, as well as S/PDIF and Stereo RCA audio ports. Other features include WiFi, Ethernet, and a pair of USB ports. An IR blaster is available, as well as a serial port for monitor control and status retrieval. The VESA-mountable device measures 150 x 128 x 40mm.

    Linux-based Xtream DS600
    (click image to enlarge)

“Using Android gives our customers a very cost-effective, stable and rapidly evolving platform,” stated Farbod Sadeghian, CEO of Noxel. “Integrating BLE means the messaging delivered on Xtream-powered screens can also be targeted down to the shopper smartphones and also provide intelligence on consumer behavior.”

Further information

The Xtream A700 and the three other Xtream devices appear to be shipping now at unstated prices. More information may be found on all four products at Noxel’s Xtream hardware page.

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