Well ok, it’s not exactly a local company, and its not precisely taking on Apple, but its certainly worth discussing over coffee.
Streaming Networks is one of the few offshore development arms in Pakistan of companies focusing on Embedded System Software. They just recently announced the iRecord, a curious device that lets you record your TV directly into your iPod or PSP device. They are pricing it at $200 and seems to be positioned fairly directly against Apple’s own product line in the area.
Right now, the device only lets you record directly to the flash-based media storage devices, and has no internal storage. Some 100GB of flash-based internal storage and basic application software could have made this a decent PVR device. As it is, it doesn’t quite excite me.
So what about Apple? Well Steve Jobs had announced a very similar Apple product called iTV in August. That device, however, does the reverse path — it can take iTunes / iPod media and shifts it over to your TV. Apple announced this in their development conference and clearly that was meant to generate third-party applications for the platform before the January launch.
So although the two products differ in functionality, on paper they do look quite similar. It would be really interesting when the next revisions of both products each add the missing features and become practically the same thing.
I do see problems with SN’s product and their positioning strategy (SN : Please lighten up your website so it doesn’t feel like Spock giving an orientation to the Enterprise), but I wont discuss them here (call me if you really need to know). For now, it’s a good thing that a local development team built a product that was featured on Gizmodo.
I just hope that it doesn’t become another classic case study where “the engineers made something for which there was no consumer need”. I fear it may be so, but remain cautiously encouraging.