Samsung HomeSync pictures and hands-on
Samsung has demonstrated its HomeSync device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and it's hard to nail down exactly what kind of technology it is.
It's a media centre, network storage solution, media server and home content and files hub all in one - but then it's so much more besides. It also runs a version of Android, and has access to Google Play, so applications can be downloaded. What ones and how they work are yet to be seen, as they weren't on show when we had a gander, but the potential is great.
Small and gloriously rendered in brushed aluminium, it's the first of those elements that will help its adoption primarily. Unlike many other media devices that sit under a TV these days, it's reasonably small - about the size of an Apple TV or flip-box packet of Maltesers (the latter analogy comes from James from Metro, who had us in stitches, but is actually spot on).
Of course, they'd have to be fancy Maltesers, as it looks pretty classy, to be honest.
The rear isn't quite as sexy, but does have plenty of sockets for fans of that kind of thing. There's a Micro-USB port, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI socket, and digital optical audio out. Yep, one of its talents is that it can plug into a TV and play content, regardless of whether it is a Samsung set or not.
In addition, while it has a 1TB drive built in, you can also attach further storage in the form of external drives. It can be enhanced dramatically, and, to be honest, even the one terrabyte will be enough for some.
The point of the HomeSync is to be the centre of your home's content delivery, both in the house and out. You can sync that content - video, audio or images - to your mobile devices when you are indoors or anywhere else in the world. And that can be done through streaming or to download for offline viewing, etc.
Of course, there are plenty of NAS drives that offer similar services, but not in the same way - or with the same amount of ease, we should say. The HomeSync supports up to six profiles - one for each member of an extended family - and each of those profiles can support up to eight devices. Pocket-lint had only a brief demo at MWC, but we did find out that those devices - if so endowed - can automatically sync with the box via NFC. Which is groovy.
Another of the HomeSync's impressive feature set that we played with briefly was its ability to mirror the screen of a Samsung handset, and that includes games. It is capable of wirelessly playing your Android games on a flatscreen TV at 1080p (if needed). We played a bit of Angry Birds Star Wars, and it works very well indeed.
Of course, Samsung's HomeSync is probably going to appeal to Samsung mobile phone owners, and few others. But there's a heck of a lot of them, we've heard.
It obviously has others talents we couldn't really touch on in our brief demo, including its Android OS and app compatibility, so we will be reviewing the box in full when it comes to the UK. Initially, it will be available in the US from April, and then rolled out globally from then.
Pricing details are yet to be determined.