Is Android Turning into a Console Platform?

October 25, 2011
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    I’ve long been wanting Google to turn Google TV into a console platform. I don’t think the idea of a console platform has been tried before, but if you think about it, it kind of makes sense and it would be just an evolution of what Google TV/Android already is today.

    They’ve been planning on adding the Android Market to Google TV since last year, and my guess is the delay happened because they (wrongly) moved Google TV to Intel Atom CE instead of a high-end ARM chip. That caused a whole lot of other problems, too, like launching the first set top box at a price of $300, which is pretty crazy, and I don’t know how in the world they thought that could actually work when other set top boxes were selling for $70, $100 or $200 at most.

    Maybe they got a little too confident in the potential of Google TV. But it has been historically very hard to try and bring the TV to the web and the new connected world we live in. That’s because the TV is a very lean-back experience, and people want to use it effortlessly. Anything more than that, and it will be a failure. Plus, Google has had the troubles with the lack of content, too, which is again another tough problem to solve, because the networks are very much against the idea of Google disrupting them.

    So then, why isn’t Google focusing on making Google TV and Android in general a console platform first, and sell millions of them at $99 or $149 with high-end ARM chips like a Tegra 3, quad core Qualcomm S4 or TI OMAP 5? The graphics on those will look console-like anyway, and Android already has some 3D games that look like console games, so with slight modifications, they could be made to run on your TV easily.

    I don’t know how serious Google is about this, but this tweet from Romain Guy, an Android developer, gives us some hope:

    Plus, don’t forget that Google TV 2.0 also got gamepad support a few months ago. I just hope Google doesn’t launch this half-heartedly, and instead they really try to bring a bunch of great quality games on the launch of new Google TV devices, if they really want to make Google TV and Android in general a console platform, too. Hopefully these set top boxes will come with Tegra 3 as well, because that’s going to be the most powerful ARM chip in the near future, and it would be perfect for them.

    What do you think? Can Google make Android a console platform for your TV, and start chipping away at the Xbox and PS3 markets (over time) ?

    Comments

    • AppleFUD

      I think doing the console TV before trying to get all the TV content providers on board with Google TV would be a wise move–give users a real reason to spend extra on a TV that they can actually use today.

    • Tioz

      Should just launch a gamepad and use the phone as the console to attach to the TV

      • Jon Langevin

        Problem is, you get a call, your phone is powering the game or movie you’re viewing… Not a great solution

    • Jon Langevin

      That tweet overlooks the fact that you can alternatively use bluetooth gamepads, which is even better. Otherwise, better hope your usb gamepads can stretch the room.

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