A lot of people I chatted with last week mentioned BroadSign‘s re-emergence at Digital Signage Expo in a full booth (this time last year they’d announced Chapter 11 re-structuring) and the unveiling of a $99 Android-based player.
Going Android is in no way unique, but what distinguishes what BroadSign is doing from many of the competing Android-based software products is that this is not a compromised, restricted or “lite” version of a software platform. It’s the full meal deal.
Back in my dark period when I did software sales for a living (I was competent, but it really was not my thing), I spent a couple of years on the BroadSign biz dev team and got to know how VP Technology Bryan Mongeau operated. He had more Quality Assurance guys than developers, which spoke volumes about his attention to detail.
I know Capital Networks went through 20-plus players from Taiwan and China before finding a couple they were comfy would be reliable. Jerome Moeri of Navori told me last week they also had to sort through a pile to find one his people thought was going to last.
Mongeau told me at DSE his team tested and discarded almost 50 different units before settling on one, and then had a custom feature set made instead of using the off the shelf version. Interestingly, he said some of the units he tossed were units being used by other companies.
Cheap and cheerful don’t necessarily mix when it comes to emerging technology.
Mongeau also wrote (or had his guys write) a pair of scripts designed to jackhammer the players and see if they combusted, melted or ceased up. The one he settled on will have at least a three year warranty because his team is confident that with no moving parts and proper design, it will just run and run and run. And run.
The “Xpress” Player’s specs:
- Dual core 1.6 ghz ARM A9 CPU
- Quad core Mali 400 GPU
- 1 GB DDR3 RAM
- 16 GB SSD (expandable via full size SD card)
- 1080p resolution (HDMI)
- Full BroadSign player (not light version)
- All major video codecs
- HTML5 / Flash 11.1
That’s all in a box that’s about the size of stack of five square drink coasters. It’s impressive, and assuming it is as robust as billed, I doubt BroadSign will be selling much else going forward.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.