Despite the incredible number of games available in the Google Play Store, there are a surprisingly few number of “game” consoles based on Android hardware. One of the first, the Sony Xperia Play, never really took off and the line ended then and there. Likewise, the Ouya home console had a lot of good ideas as well, but seems to be in a state of unknown limbo these days. Thanks to the efforts of Chinese company Snail, the Android console concept may get another shot at greatness.
Snail might be unknown to people in the USA, but in China it’s big news. According to its website, Snail was “the first 3D online game development company in China, and continues to pioneer in the industry after over a decade of success. [It is] recognized as one of the world´s top game developers and [employs] a development team of over 3,000.” And now, it is planning to release two major gaming devices, the OBox and the W 3D.
The Obox is more-or-less a traditional gaming console, that is to say it is large, stationary, and requires a controller. According to The Verge, the OBox is going to be somewhat of a varied affair as multiple configurations will be allowed by retailers. While it will run on the Nvidia K1 CPU, two processor options are hinted at, as are two HDMI options and no less than four storage congifurations, ranging from 500GB to 4 terabytes. It will also output video in 3D and 4K for those with compatible setups. Even more impressive? The console will have interchangeable parts which would theoretically make it a gaming version of Google’s Project Aria.
According to an apparent leak that was featured on French blog Pet Forms Community, the device is claims the controller will feature “a 9-axis sensor with gyro and magnetometer, [and] the controller itself can be used as an air mouse.” To add an even more detailed layer to the spec claims, blog CNX Soft obtained an apparently leaked PDF promotional brochure for the device, which can be seen here.
The W 3D
The smaller (and therefore portable) W 3D is actually a smartphone with an Octa-core MTK6595/2.2GHZ CPU, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, and front/back cameras. Where it spices things up however, are the inclusion of a pair of analog sticks, 4 physical buttons (plus four shoulder buttons), a D-pad, and a touch screen. The device will have a 5.5 inch display and offer glasses-free 3D with eye-tracking technology, however The Verge has indicated that the model displayed at CES 2015 offered somewhat lackluster 3D. It will be sold unlocked.
Snail’s US website also makes reference to a third device, the “W” (no 3D moniker attached) which may also indicate that a standard model will be available for those who want a presumably lower price.
While the pair of devices are set to launch in China during the second quarter of 2015, their release in the USA (and Mexico!) won’t occur until Q3. A representative from Snail indicated the price could range from $99 to $499.
Other than the aforementioned supposedly leaked PR material, nothing official has been detailed about the exact hardware specs, or the OS version to be included in these devices. Snail’s website does mention that the OBox will be running a skinned version of the OS however, and also details that all devices will come pre-installed with the company’s free gaming software.