New IAdea Media Player Design Allows Android Digital Signage On Intel Chips

September 25, 2014 by Dave Haynes

iadea-logo-sqTaiwan’s IAdea has announced a new hardware platform that intriguingly makes it possible to run an Android digital signage application on conventional Intel x86 architecture, instead of the ARM-0based CPUs that have been used to date for Android products.

The platform was demonstrated today, with Intel, at the Digital Signage Shanghai Show.

IAdea suggests this new set-up will allow many digital signage content management system (CMS) vendors to quickly extend their Windows-based software to Android.  The platform extends the SMIL+HTML5 open standards has had available in recent years,

IAdea’s implementation, says a news release,  includes a modified Android system kernel to compensate for stability problems often found in the standard Android open source project. As a result, it is one of the most popular platform choice and has been used in several multi-thousand-unit retail deployments.

“This solution answers a huge need from the Android community. While ARM-based CPUs provide a low-cost alternative, they have not always delivered the performance expected of digital signage hardware,” said Rex Chen, Executive Vice President of IAdea. “We are pleased to be a part of Intel’s effort to embrace Android for retail applications. IAdea will soon enable our large number of CMS and OEM partners to take advantage of Intel’s latest silicon.”

Intel Reference Design for Digital Signage (EL-10) enables the first Intel x86 implementation of IAdea’s middleware.  Used in conjunction with the robust middleware, the Intel architecture may provide superior performance at a given price point.  Following IAdea’s announcement, dozens of CMS’s supporting the SMIL+HTML5 platform will soon be able to take advantage of Intel’s new hardware.

I asked John Wang, who runs IAdea, what’s up and how this will shake out.

Wang says the new Intel platform EL-10 (code named “Scorpion Ridge”) is similar to Intel’s little NUC devices, but will be based on the Atom family, starting with the Bay Trail chipset.

“Once IAdea ports the SMIL+HTML5 platform over to EL-10,” says Wang, “all software partners of IAdea (a dozen or so as listed on IAdea website, Scala, Signagelive, and the like) will run on the new Intel hardware, without incurring the ‘Windows tax.’ That removes a big roadblock for Intel in the entry-level market.”

The first EL-10 hardware will come from Gigabyte. Prices are not available yet but they should be in line with the higher-end Android devices out there today, so $200ish versus the $60-$80 sticks and boxes some Android systems are marketing.

Very interesting. With so many software companies moving to Android starting a couple of years ago, and ARM-based all-in-one displays coming on the market, it was not looking al that good for Intel in the digital signage business. But the company is making moves with processors and partnerships (like the Google-derived Chromeboxes and this IAdea set-up) that puts them back in the game.

  1. Instead of “Windows tax” this IAdea platform will still impose an SMIL+HTML5 tax.

    SMIL for example is only a de facto standard; try to find any documentation, source code and support for SMIL because it ain’t a gonna happen.

    tand even then by a very small group of partners in the IAdea

  2. Raffi Vartian says:


    I’m sure you missed the site, so here it is for your convenience:

    Signagelive was able to implement this open standard without much difficulty, and while we made our own HTML5 player, that’s what software companies do for a living!



  3. As Raffi’s post above illustrates, as an industry, we do ourselves a disservice by continuously failing to distinguish SMIL from A-SMIL.

    SMIL 3.0. is a W3C approved true open standard for multimedia presentations, however, it was not designed for digital signage. So A-SMIL extensions were created. For example:

    Screen Control (
    Proof of Play (
    Reporting (

    etc, are all A-SMIL extensions, and not part of the W3C SMIL. The A-SMIL governing body is unclear (is it IAdea?) and there is no such thing as universal hardware support of all the extensions.

    e.g Sync extension only supported on certain devices: (

  4. Raffi Vartian says:


    You’re 100% correct: we do have to draw clear lines in our industry between those that have done the work on hardware platforms and those that haven’t.

    Here’s what we sent out this morning:

    On the 6th October, as part of the latest update to Signagelive, we will be launching our Enhanced SMIL solution for IAdea digital signage players and SignBoards.

    The Enhanced SMIL offering unlocks the full potential of the IAdea SMIL devices; delivering multi-zone layouts, animated text and store/forward scheduling of content. Our Enhanced SMIL offering requires our Standard Licence to be purchased and is not supported using the Virtual Player (Lite) Licence current used with IAdea devices to deliver our Simple SMIL capabilities.

    Customers currently using our Virtual Player (Lite) Licence on IAdea devices capable of supporting the Enhanced SMIL features, will continue to be able to use the Lite licence purchased. However, all new licences for IAdea devices that support the Enhanced SMIL features will require a Standard Licence to be purchased.

    For full details of the features delivered by our Enhanced SMIL offering and the IAdea devices that are supported, a Google Doc can be viewed here :

    If you have any questions or require further information, please reply to this email and one of our team will get back to you.

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