A really cool thing to do is to install Ubuntu for Android on the BlueStacks App Player, but after wrestling with this for a couple of hours I gave up. I had to download the OS images (which seemed amazingly slow) and then unzip and install them. A combination of failed downloads and file managers that wouldn't delete files was too much. I shall try again when I have a little more time.
So, even though trying to get Ubuntu for Android running was disappointing, all of the more common Android apps I tried worked perfectly. For example, Fruit Ninja worked astoundingly well and reminded me once again why I don't like games ... mainly because I'm not very good at them.
The BlueStacks App Player is a very impressive platform and, minor flaws aside, it's a very cool achievement and gets a Gearhead rating of 4 out of 5.
Now we come to another Android product, this on a complete computer system running Android called the Favi Smart Stick that turns your dumb TV into a "smart" TV that can run any of the gazillion Android apps. The real focus, however, is on digital media playback.
The SmartStick is tiny, measuring just 3.6 inches by 1.3 inches by 0.6 inches. A male HDMI connector sticks out of one end which you plug that into your TV. The device also comes with a short HDMI cable so you can plug the SmartStick in to televisions that have limited access.
The SmartStick runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on a 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 with 1GB DDR3 SDRam with built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and either 4GB or 8GB of storage (you can add up to 32GB storage via a Micro SD card slot).
Power is provided by a standard wall wart that plugs into a mini USB port on the side of the SmartStick. A USB 2.0 is located on the opposite end and most wireless keyboard and mouse adapters will be identified and supported automatically when plugged in.
Installation is straightforward and the SmartStick can be configured to output either a 720P or 1080P television image. The SmartStick also comes with an IR sensor on a three foot cable so that you can control the device with the included remote, even if the SmartStick has to be buried behind your TV.
The remote that comes with the SmartStick is OK but the controls are not as intuitive as they could be and text entry via the on-screen keyboard with the remote is painful. You would be advised to get the wireless Favi SmartStick Keyboard.