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New details about Wonder's ambitious Android-powered gaming phone

Wonder's new gaming device will run a custom layer of the Android OS tentatively called WonderOS. Can it avoid the fate of the OUYA?

Published onMay 16, 2018

wonder gaming smartphone preview
  • Gaming startup Wonder announced that its ambitious new device will run a version of Android.
  • The device will be sold alongside a subscription service that give access to games and other entertainment features.
  • Wonder is in talks to offer its software, tentatively called WonderOS, in branded devices made by well-known Android OEMs.

In an interview with The Verge last month, Andy Kleinman, CEO of mysterious gaming startup Wonder, revealed several new details about the company’s upcoming device, including that the phone will run an Android skin tentatively called WonderOS.

The device will essentially be a fully functioning Android phone with an extra layer of software that allows the processor to be overclocked so the phone can beam its display to a television when docked. It will be sold as a hardware package that includes the phone, a dock, and a controller. The dock allows users to broadcast the display onto a TV and play using the controller and phone, similar to the Nintendo Switch. The expected release date was pushed back to some time next year.

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Kleinman also has big plans for the Wonder ecosystem, which will be sold as a subscription service. That service will offer original games as well as licensed third-party titles, alongside a suite of other streaming and media features. The company’s hope is to position the device as an entertainment hub for gaming and entertainment enthusiasts by improving upon the Switch’s battery life and offering a more expansive catalog of games.

The shift to a software-based system goes even further, as Wonder is now in talks with well-known Android OEMs to create branded Wonder-ready devices. If everything goes well, you may be able to access Wonder from other high-end Android phones, as long as they meet a certain threshold of specs.

However, Wonder did not announce any information about pricing, specs, or formalized third-party partnerships. Kleinman stated that the company is in talks with game developers to make versions of their popular console and PC games that run on Android and work with both a controller and touch screen controls. Wonder is also reportedly in talks with Valve, and incorporating some of the capabilities of its Steam Link app such as game streaming could represent a big step toward playing resource-intensive PC titles on mobile devices.

For now, without a finished prototype or third-party announcements, Kleinman and his team have their work cut out for them if they want to avoid the fate of the OUYA. Users can learn more about Wonder’s development and join its Alpha program over at the official website.

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