German device manufacturer Sunflex announced the Unu, a new Android tablet that doubles as a microconsole and triples as a smart TV. It’s an all-in-one slate that only costs slightly more than Google’s own top-of-the-line Nexus 7.
The Unu is a 7-inch tablet running Android 4.2 and features a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor. An included docking base enables the tablet to switch from a portable unit into a gaming console and Google TV-like smart box. It even comes with its own remote and video game controller. While the 2013 Nexus 7 retails for $230, Sunflex is only charging $20 more for the $250 gaming version of the Unu.
It’s available to preorder now. A gaming-less, media-only version that works with the TV-style remote control is also available to preorder for $200.
In tablet mode, Unu works just like you would expect. It supports Android apps, and users can sign in with their Google accounts to send email and maintain their calendars. In console mode, gamers can put Unu in its dock and use the dual-analog controller to play Android titles. The smart TV mode enables users to search for television content with the remote control. The remote has a full keyboard, and Unu can look through different online-content services for shows and movies.
To enable Unu to switch quickly between these different-use scenarios, Sunflex designed its own skin to put on top of Android. This is similar to what Samsung does with its Galaxy phones and what HTC does with its Android products. This means that the remote or game controller should just work, period. You can currently try to control your Android device with a third-party controller, but the results are unreliable because the operating system does not natively support the input method.
Unu also doesn’t use a proprietary app store like the Ouya Android microconsole. Sunflex is using the Google Play market. That means Unu owners will have access to the millions of games and apps already submitted to the store.
Unu joins a crowded tablet and microconsole market, but its aggressive pricing may help it stand out. It does offer more features than the Nexus 7 and for just $20 more. Of course, third parties that use custom skins on Android sometimes struggle to create an easy user experience or to maintain decent performance. If Unu does work as advertised, Sunflex may find an audience.