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Television Network Embeds Android Device In Magazine Ads 115

Revotron writes "Readers of Entertainment Weekly might be shocked to find their magazine is a good bit heavier than normal this week. US-based broadcaster CW placed an ad in Entertainment Weekly which uses a fully-functional 3G Android device, a T-Mobile SIM card, and a specialized app to display short video advertisements along with the CW Twitter feed. Writers at Mashable were willing to geek out with a Swiss Army knife and a video camera to give us all the gory details as they tore it down piece-by-piece to discover the inner workings of CW's new ad."
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Television Network Embeds Android Device In Magazine Ads

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  • Where are they? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Beavertank ( 1178717 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:55PM (#41554305)
    Yes, but only 1000 of the magazines contain the electronic ad, and unfortunately they seem to be hard to come by. I've looked everywhere and have yet to find one.
  • by Paska ( 801395 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:58PM (#41554321) Homepage

    Here's the direct link to the actual article and video: []

  • Idiot commentators (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Interesting to see the tear down, but could they have found a more annoying couple of idiots for the commentary?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      CmdrTaco was busy.
    • It was pure comedy.

      What exact is an "old school USB port"? Looked like a normal mini-USB port to me (ya?)

  • Senior tech analyst? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by citizenr ( 871508 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:18PM (#41554425) Homepage

    I like how g4tv's "Senior tech analyst" cant tell lcd display from camera module.
    The battery is refueling? WHAT? Watching that video is painful.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I know, i was cringing, they guy also seems like a bit of a prick.
      The girl does seems more knowledgeable and alot better composed.

      • I know, i was cringing, they guy also seems like a bit of a prick. The girl does seems more knowledgeable and alot better composed.

        Sadly that's how Tech reporting works. They feel the need to have a bald man in glasses presenting, as eye-candy for the geeks. Sex sells.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Are you serious? Half of her lines where repeating what he said.

        • But when she says it, it's sexy!

          Actually, that sounds like a "that's what she said" joke in reverse.

    • by mastershake82 ( 948396 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:44PM (#41554583)
      Seconded... they can't figure out that basically, a directional style type navigation device is missing and they keep trying to navigate with what is clearly a spot for the android home, search, back, menu hotkeys.

      Only thing I was interested in was, can you take the SIM out and will it work in another device?
      • by bonehead ( 6382 )

        Only thing I was interested in was, can you take the SIM out and will it work in another device?

        And also what are the details of the account associated with it? How much data will you be able to download with it? On what date does the account end and the sim becomes useless?

        • by devjoe ( 88696 )
          T-Mobile does have monthly prepaid plans [] so I'd expect it is something like this, paid for a month starting at the time they put these things together, which means they probably have a week or so left on them now.
    • by lomedhi ( 801451 )
      Yeah ... a second battery? You can clearly see that there is an EMPTY button battery receptacle on the small, obviously re-purposed, PCB with the activation switch.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:30PM (#41554853)

      Keep in mind you're going into this, slouched back in your chair, with full knowledge that this thing is an Android phone.

      They're delving into this for the first time expecting maybe a more sophisticated version of the Esquire eInk cover. [] The last thing they expect is to find a repurposed phone with pretty much all the hardware intact. Plus they're recording it live. They're figuring out things on the spot and thinking out loud so it won't be a boringly quiet video. If you had the magazine ad in front of you and picking it apart, you too would be saying or thinking a series of "what/why the fsck is that piece there?"

    • This is the result of G4, "TV for Lamers" I mean gamers...buying the once great TechTV (prior to that ZDTV), and filling it with games, rap videos, anime, and boobiez with a minute bit of tech thrown in. Of course, we can credit them for causing Leo Laporte to create TWiT and Kevin Rose to create Rev3, however I still miss ZDTV and TechTV myself.
  • by Qubit ( 100461 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:26PM (#41554465) Homepage Journal

    Yes, this is cool, but I can't go out to Barnes and Noble and pick up a copy of this week's magazine and expect to find some fun electronics inside.

    Entertainment Weekly is only producing 1,000 of these digital advertising-enhanced issues, so if you want a nearly free smartphone that, with a good deal of nudging, actually works, you better run, not walk, to your nearest newsstand.

    More info from original source @ mashable []

    • by chalker ( 718945 )

      According to the original mashable article ( The 1000 copies were only distributed in New York and Los Angeles.

  • Is it worthwhile buying for any reason other than "Oh look .. cool shit!"???

    • Do you need any other reason?

      But no, not if they are already gone, and only found in NY and LA.

  • That is one of the most awesome things I've ever seen!
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @10:07PM (#41555015) Homepage

    If you custom-build a board, and cost-engineer it so that it just has the components you actually need, you are spending a whole bunch of money up-front (mostly, the salaries of the engineers who do the custom board design). This will pay off if you ship a large volume. This up-front cost is called "NRE", for "non-recurring engineering costs"; the final cost of your product is NRE divided by the number of units you ship, plus the actual cost of the unit (parts and assembly).

    If you know you are shipping exactly 1000 magazines with this gimmick inside, a custom board makes no sense; the NRE would totally wipe out the per-board savings. The cheapest option would be a stack of pre-built boards that someone has lying around, maybe from a phone that was current technology two years ago. It wouldn't surprise me if the ROM contains an off-the-shelf build of Android, just with one additional app installed and set always to run at boot-up. They could have built a custom ROM image of Android, for example with the phone app removed, but why bother? (And clearly the phone app was not in fact removed, as the Mashable folks used it to place a call.)


    • what about the LIVE SIM card and not removing the phone app removed and rest of the OS can put the CW on the hook for all kinds of phone fees and they better hope some does not say pick this up and goes out side of the usa and then CW is paying like $20 a meg for data.

      • by Splab ( 574204 )

        Yes, because if the OS is exposed, all sim cards are in rape me mode?
        First of all, roaming is something you must enable on the sim card profile, this can be restricted by the pin2 code and/or on operator level.
        Secondly, depending on technology on the operator side, it's fairly easy to restrict the card to x MB of data and disable mobile calls.

        • Correct. The SIM card just identifies the profile, all of the features that the card is/isn't allowed to use are stored on the provider's side in the HSS/database server.
    • by marqs ( 774373 )
      As I said in reply to another post.
      I'm fairly confident is a A810 Wcdma 3G they are using.
      It cost about $35 when buying a single unit. But you could get it for less than $25 if you buy at least 500.
      I think we may see more of this...
  • by antdude ( 79039 )

    Crap, I got this issue and I tossed it. I didn't even know that was there! I do remember those ads pages, but not its video.

    Are they spying on us?

  • I don't know who this mashable guys are, but they are truly fucking stupid. It took them 10 minutes of staring at what was OBVIOUSLY a fucking smartphone mobo in order to realize that it was one. And they sounded surprised!. Hey, you said it was playing video and receiving tweets, so what the hell did they expect it to be, a vacuum cleaner? They also looked at what was clearly a phone camera, missing the lens and with the CCD exposed, and they where like "is that a CCD, I think it looks like a CCD. Dude, you've got something shaped like an smartphone motherboard, with a smartphone battery, a smartphone LCD, a SIM card, and a USB port, and you wonder about what it is? The funniest part is that the article introduces them as "The technical wizards at Mashable". WTF.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Only thing I can think is they are playing down to the lowest common denominator, in which case, dumb or smart, they are pretty good actors.

    • Obviously calling them technical wizards was in jest, but you had to go and take everything at face value. Are you related to buzz killington?

    • by jimicus ( 737525 )

      They spent most of those 10 minutes saying "It looks like a blackberry". So I don't think it's fair to say they didn't know it was a smartphone.

    • You've obviously never broken down mystery technology before. It's very easy to armchair QB when you have a headline in front of you saying "TELEVISION NETWORK EMBEDS ANDROID DEVICE..." These folks didn't have that benefit. You're suffering from a commonly experienced psychological phenomenon called "hindsight bias." [] The fact is, in 10 minutes they took the device and were able to largely ID it. That's pretty good.

      If you think you can do better, by all means open a tech website, have a better product to ap

      • Shouldn't you ask what I do for a living before assuming it doesn't involve tearing apart unknown devices?

        I own a software development company, and a big part of my day is bringing in weird shit from china, tearing it apart, figuring out what it is, how it works, identifying where it came from, going up the chain until I get to the actual manufacturer, then negotiating a bulk price.

        I do this with DVR capture cards and external capture devices (our products are linux-based, so I end up tearing apart lots of

        • No, not really. You're someone who breaks things down? That's great, I do it too for a fortune 500 company serving 40 million customers. And I sound a hell of a lot like those folks when I'm breaking open new kits we get in. I also know people like you who know everything, but are boring as hell to watch as they use spectrum analyzers, oscilloscopes and multimeters to trace out circuits and see how crap works. I'd rather have someone who may know a little less, but at least is entertaining to watch.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If the innards are cheap enough that you can gut a phone and put it in a cheap magazine, how come cell phones cost so much? I call bullshit on $600.

    • Bottom of the barrel smartphones are not that expensive, closer to $200 maybe less than that. Still too much to include in regular copies of a magazine though.

      This was NOT in most copies of the magazine, it was in a tiny fraction and seems pretty clearly to have been done as a publicity stunt.

      • by marqs ( 774373 )
        I think i found the model they where using A810 Wcdma 3G. It cost about $35 when buying a single unit.
        But you could get it for less than $25 if you order atleast 500, and i also think you could reduce that price when buying without the cover. If they did well in negotiating I'm guessing around $10-20/unit
    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      Looking at this example of a bottom-of-the-barrel phone and saying "hey, how come fancy smartphones cost so much" is like looking at the cheapest of Chinese-made cars and saying "how come that BMW over there costs so much"

  • so who will get hit with roaming fees if this is used out side of the USA???

    and can I call overseas with it's sim as well?

    • No one. They're most likely A) using prepaid SIMs, B) not set up on the provider's side to be allowed service from international origins. The SIM just acts as an identifier, it doesn't actually provide service. When the device registers on the provider's network, the SIM is used as an identifier to the Home Subscriber Service (HSS), which stores all of the feature information. In most cases this information will get cached in a call application server which actually provides telephony service. If a call com
  • Writers at Mashable were willing to geek out with a Swiss Army knife and a video camera...

    Since we're geeking out, let's get our tools right. it's a Leatherman Squirt.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I really wish you wouldn't get your tool out in public.....

  • I'd think they'd get a better, more wide-ranging PR boost if they just stuck $50 bills in their magazines instead. Everyone will try to be one of the lucky 1,000 people who gets one, and most will fail to do so.

    Really, if you want a low-end Android device, you can get one for damn near nothing. How about an Alcatel Venture from Virgin Mobile for $50... No contract, buy as many as you want, ready to use Android device. Or how about a 7" Tablet for $50 [] from everybody's favorite retailer?

  • It's a phone, it's a phone, it's a phone!! With two batteries and an old school USB port and a KEYBOARD!!!! AND A SPEAKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • ... only put 1000 of these on newsstands in NY and LA. Nothing in flyover country, nothing for subscribers.
    I've been looking all over for one of these for tinkering -- should be possible to sideload an app at the very least, and it looks like a spare BB trackball might make navigation of menus possible (I think I have an old Crackberry floating around here somewhere).

    If nothing else, this looks like a fun device to hack: break it, and you've lost a few bucks at worst, and the LiON battery alone is worth th

  • You think you can decimate our industry?! You think you can reduce us from journalists to mere "content creators"?! You think you can take our work and stick it in your little glowing devices?! WE'LL SHOW YOU! WE'LL TAKE YOUR LITTLE GLOWY SMARTPHONE AND GLUE IT RIGHT INSIDE OUR MAGAZINE.

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.