Tech Biz

Is Google Working On an Android-Powered Video Game Console?

WSJ insiders claim that Google is working on gaming hardware, among other things.

By J. T. Quigley for

Following the successful release of Ouya, sources at Google have said that the Internet giant is developing a video game console, also powered by its increasingly popular Android software. If true, that signals a big step outside of the mobile operating system’s smartphone and tablet comfort zone – and toward more in-house hardware production.

The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous Google insiders, also reported that Google is working on an Android-powered smartwatch and plans to release a media-streaming gadget previously called Nexus Q. “Google is hoping to combat similar devices that Apple Inc. may release in the future,” claimed the paper’s informant.

Currently, Android stands as the operating system of choice for 75 percent of smartphone users and 57 percent of tablet users. The growth of Android gaming is also outpacing traditional disc-based software from the big three console makers: Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. Google’s biggest rival could also join the race, with the Wall Street Journal’s source expecting that “Apple will launch a videogame console as part of its next Apple TV product release.”

The revelation from Google coincides with this week’s launch of the Ouya console, a $99.99 Android-based gaming console that can fit in the palm of your hand. It sold out within hours on several online shopping outlets. “Google has apparently been keeping a close eye on the Ouya … presumably using it to gauge people's interest in an Android video game box,” stated Gizmodo.

Google’s possible foray into gaming hardware is in line with the company’s evolution beyond smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, Google’s previous attempts at hardware have had mixed results.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

Google Glass, a wearable augmented reality device, has generated serious buzz while polarizing the general public in regard to technology’s increased prevalence in society – and the perceived decrease in privacy that goes hand in hand with that. The $1500 high-tech eyewear has yet to be released to the general public, and businesses have been scrambling to have the device banned from their premises.

The revamped Nexus Q, initially criticized for being overpriced and thus never sold to the public, is similar to Apple TV and Roku. However, instead of streaming content from your handheld devices, the Nexus Q would stream content direct from Google servers. At a $300 price point, it was easy to forget with Apple TV only costing $100 and Roku HD just $60.

On top of hardware rumors, Google is also planning to release a new version of Android, 5.0 Key Lime Pie. KnowYourMobile said that Key Lime Pie is likely to arrive in late October.