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Google is trying to stay ahead of Apple

Google is reportedly looking to expand its Android offerings to the video game console and smart watch markets. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Google is looking to launch a slew of new products as early as this year, such as a video game console, a smart watch and the Nexus Q media device. 

Google wants to make an Android-based video game console that allows users to not only play Android games on their smartphones and tablets, but also a full-powered system like the upcoming Xbox One or PlayStation 4. No hardware or software details are available at this point. 

Startup OUYA Inc. recently released its own Android-based video game console, which sports Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a 1.7 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, NVIDIA Tegra 3, 1GiB DDR3 SDRAM, NVIDIA ULP GeForce graphics and a $99 introductory price. 

Google is reportedly looking to release a console of its own as a response to rumors that Apple is looking to do the same with its Apple TV release at some point. 

The search giant also wants to release a smart watch, which would run the Android mobile operating system and sync with Android smartphones via Bluetooth. This is yet another attempt by Google to stop Apple from being the first to release such devices.

Apple's wearable device is due to be released later this year. Not many details have been released as of yet, but a patent application for a "Bi-stable spring with flexible display" -- filed by Apple in 2011 -- described a bi-stable spring that would be made out of thin steel and wrapped in fabric covering, then heat-sealed. The display would be located on one side of the bracelet (overlaid with an adhesive) and the logic board and battery would be placed on the other side. It also showed a universal fit, a plethora of onboard sensors, wireless charging, etc.

In addition to a game console and a smart watch, Google wants to finally release the next version of its Nexus Q media device this year. The first version was introduced last year, but after users complained about the high $299 price tag, the public release was cancelled. 

The Nexus Q is a cloud-based social streaming media player that can stream Google Play Music, Google Play Movies/TV, and YouTube content to your tablet, smartphone, or TV. The new version is expected to be cheaper. 

Google also has some other Android offerings in the works, such as a Hewlett-Packard built laptop running Android. This is meant to compete more with the likes of touch laptops running Windows 8.

Google is set to release its new version of Android -- dubbed "Key Lime Pie" -- this fall. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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ARM based consoles aren't that far-fetched
By Guspaz on 6/28/2013 4:17:56 PM , Rating: 2
OUYA is underpowered, but it was using obsolete hardware before it even came out. If Google really did scale up to the highest-end stuff ARM has, it would be at a whole different level.

Current hardware using the Cortex-A15 is medium-clocked quad-core at most. The hardware does scale up to octo-core (although it's sort of a dual-CPU-single-package thing for that), and about 40% higher clockspeeds. You can't do that in a smartphone or tablet due to thermal and battery constraints, but an STB console could easily handle it.

If we assume that performance scales linearly, then an 8-core 2.5 GHz Cortex A-15 has 1.4x the IPC, 2.0x the core count, and 1.4x the clockspeed, for a theoretical performance point of about four times the OUYA's performance.

It's not like an ARM gaming console is without precedent. When Sony produced the PS Vita, they basically just took the hardware in contemporary smartphones and doubled it. Something produced today without mobile thermal limitations would likely be several times more powerful than even that.

The real trick is convincing developers to put out content for it. Mobile games aren't going to sell such a console, and while there are some more "core" style games for mobile platforms that could work well, there aren't enough to go up against Sony or Microsoft. It's not impossible, but Google is going to have to spend money to make it happen.

RE: ARM based consoles aren't that far-fetched
By ihateu3 on 6/28/2013 6:00:00 PM , Rating: 2
That's what Microsoft did, threw money out and won the market on only their 2nd console.

By MABManZ on 6/28/2013 8:30:24 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt Google would try to compete directly with the PS4 and Xbox

I'm thinking it would very much be similar to the Ouya except with access to Google Play, and be more of a media center device than a pure gaming device.

Similar to Roku, but with an included gamepad (and possibly TV remote) and being Android powered. Android 5.0 needs to add better support for controlling Android through a TV setup, though. Looking at a device like the Archos TV Connect is a decent attempt at this, but the controller could use a better design.

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