ZRRO brings touch-controlled Android apps to your big-screen TV

ZRRO Pad
Credit: ZRRO

There've been several attempts to capture the (potentially mythical) micro-console market. The highest profile of these was probably the Ouya, which launched from a successful Kickstarter campaign and has struggled to gain marketshare ever since.

Most, if not all, existing micro-consoles have tried to combine Android games, a game pad, and your TV in an attempt to compete with consoles like the Xbox or Playstation, only at a significantly lower cost.

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Now a new contender is entering the ring. ZRRO is trying something different. Rather than try to convince Android developers to support a gamepad, ZRRO is bringing the touch experience to your TV. That means you can play virtually any Android game on ZRRO.

So how does it work? ZRRO consists of two parts. The ZRRO Box™ is a set-top box with HDMI out. It runs Android OS 4.4 on a 2.0GHz Quad Core processor with 2 GB RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, a micro SD card slot for expandable memory, and two USB ports. ZRRO says it supports streaming on screens with up to 4K resolution.

The other part of the system is the ZRRO Pad™ that features the company's zTouch™ hover and touch technology. The Pad substitutes for the touch screen on a mobile device. You tap and drag on the pad in the same way you would on a tablet, but if you hover your fingers over the surface of the pad, indicators on the TV show where your fingertips are poised as well as how close to the touchpad they are. The idea is you can use all the touch features while looking at the big screen (there is no display on the touch pad itself so you won't find yourself staring at the display in your lap rather than at the TV).

You can see this in action in the video below at about the one minute mark:

So where can you get one? Well you can't, yet. ZRRO is using a Kickstarter campaign to help get manufacturing off the ground. The campaign should be live by the time you read this. ZRRO is aiming at a $149-$199 price point at retail. If Kickstarter isn't your thing you can sign up at the website to get $50 off when the product launches.

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I'm generally not a fan of touch controls in gaming, but the idea of using touch without my hands obscuring my view of the game I'm playing is kind of intriguing. Combine that with the fact that mobile games are improving all the time and maybe ZRRO will be the micro-console that finally brings the Android-in-the-living-room audience out of hiding.

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