Years of “light” ahead. Of course!
Android TVs and devices like Chromecast on Google TV use Bluetooth LE remotes so you can shout commands at your big screen, but the downside is that they use more power than traditional IR remotes or even radio remotes such as the abandoned Logitech Harmony series. So you’ll have to change batteries much more often than you used to in the smart TV days. Fortunately, one company just made an exciting announcement about this, making the bold claim that you’ll never have to charge the remote or change its batteries.
While many brands make TVs with their own remote controls, there are consulting companies that produce reference designs for manufacturers who just want to follow a simple design for remote controls for their Android TVs and Google TV devices. UK-based TW Electronics, which has previously demonstrated smart TV remote controls with dedicated buttons to switch user profiles, recently showed off: exciting new design (via 9to5Google). This remote uses the same button layout as the standard Google TV remote, but is also built into the photovoltaic panel.
Simply put, photovoltaic panels convert light into electricity, and in this case it’s clearly enough to keep up with Bluetooth LE communication battery drain, even in indoor light. TW Electronics uses Exeger’s Powerfoyle line of solar cells in its new remote control design, which may be a contributing factor here. Assuming the batteries aren’t user-replaceable, you best hope this remote isn’t lost where the sun don’t shine. Of course, we mean the dark depths of your couch.
There is no specific release schedule for this timeless Google TV remote. given that it’s just a reference design, we’ll have to wait for the TV manufacturer to include it with the new model. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Google will include one with its mysterious, upcoming Chromecast. after all, an improved remote is pretty high on our wish list for an updated TV dongle.