LeTV, the Chinese Android TV maker, recently launched updated editions of two models and sharply lowered prices. LeTV claims the prices can merely cover bills of materials and won’t expect to make profits from hardware any longer.

It’s unknown whether it has something to do with the rumor that Qihoo 360, one of the largest Chinese Internet companies, has invested in LeTV, for Zhou Hongyi, CEO of the company, always touts his building-user-base-through-free-services-and-then-monetizing-it-in-other-ways strategy and once said smart hardware makers should follow this strategy too.

With updated specs, the new S40, named S40 Air, is priced 999 yuan (about $160), 50% lower than the original one that was launched a little more than one year ago. The price point must remind many of the movement in China since sometime around 2011 that Android smartphone makers worked hard to make smartphones sold at around or lower 1000 yuan so that most Chinese would afford a one. The LeTV move seems to show that the cost for an average spec Android TV can be low enough that 1000-yuan smart TV movement is around the corner.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com