Here in the TechRepublic offices we have a couple of conference rooms. In those conference rooms we have foregone the traditional projector displays and have instead opted for large screen LCD televisions. These televisions have a computer connected to them for showing PowerPoint presentations and web-based collaboration tools, like Live Meeting.
By using televisions with computers attached we gain several degrees of flexibility in the tools we can use for teleconferencing with CBS Interactive headquarters in San Francisco. And because they are televisions, we can also use them for more fun tasks like testing gaming computers and consoles, or the occasional blue-ray player. (Check out the 2011 Geek Gift Guide for examples.)
However, the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 features several examples of LCD televisions with built-in computers. The one that comes to mind first is the Lenovo 55-inch 3D LED K91 which is powered by Qualcomm's 8060 Snapdragon dual-core CPU and features 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and a 2GB SD card.
I think a computer inside a television can be a very good idea, but only if implemented correctly. The Lenovo is going to be running the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android, which indicates that it will be application heavy - another potential plus if done correctly.
Beyond the consumer
Just imagine a teleconferencing LCD television with a built-in presentation app, an app for Skype, and an app like Go To My PC. There would be no wires, no need for setup - just plug it in and start working.
Of course, the folks at Lenovo are probably thinking their TV is a consumer-only product, which may create some implementation problems for teleconferencing, but if they go that way I think they are missing a real opportunity.
What do you think? Do you see the potential for a teleconferencing television with a built-in computer in your organization? Do you need more elegant and simplified choices for your collaboration systems? Do you think the convergence of television and computer is inevitable? Do you think convergence is now a reality? Is Android a good choice for an operating system in this situation?
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.