BARCELONA, Spain--Chinese tech manufacturer Huawei normally makes smartphones, but now it wants to take control of your TV with its tiny MediaQ M310.
This black box is a truly minuscule media hub, measuring only 14mm thick. It's so light you could almost forget you were holding it, and it would easily slot behind your TV, out of sight.
Inside is a quad-core processor, the same chip that's powering Huawei's newest flagship phone, the Ascend P2. That should give the M310 enough grunt to chew through graphically testing games or high-definition movies. That chip is backed up by 1GB of RAM.
The box is both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capable, and comes with 32GB of storage and a microSD card slot, in case you need even more space. An optical audio port and two HDMI ports round off the connectivity nicely.
One of those HDMI sockets is an input; the other is an output. That means you could connect your set-top box to the MediaQ, and then hook up Huawei's box to your TV, potentially creating a central hub through which many services are controlled.
I say potentially because Huawei doesn't seem entirely sure what the M310 is for. Basic tasks could be playing video stored on the device on your TV, but I also saw an Android tablet-mirroring app, so you could play games or use apps on the large screen, for instance. The M310's software itself is a modified version of Android, I was told, so downloading apps directly to the box could be a possibility.
To be honest, there's nothing I saw that can't be replicated by many modern smartphones, tablets, or by Samsung's new HomeSync media hub.
I suspect the M310's best chance of standing out from the crowd is a low price tag. If it's very cheap, this flexible gadget could attract Android enthusiasts who enjoy tinkering with their home cinema setup, in the same vein as the extremely cheap Raspberry Pi microcomputer.
There's no word on pricing yet, but the M310 will be available around May or June. Huawei is also cooking up the MediaQ M210, an HDMI dongle that has a single-core processor, less RAM, and only one HDMI port. The thinking is that you'll plug this dongle into your TV to play video, though details were a little thin on the ground when I saw it.
What do you think of Huawei's mystery box? Can you think of a good use for it? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to check out more of our coverage from Mobile World Congress.