Unlike its rivals Microsoft and Apple, Google doesn’t build and sell anything in retail boxes to consumers. But that could change sooner than you think…
Google seems to enjoy being a thorn in Apple’s side. They acquired the Android operating system in 2005 and have worked feverishly to make it compete with iOS. Though the first generation of Google TV struggled to make an impact, new deals with TV and set top box makers assure that this year’s devices will provide stiff competition for Apple TV. Last year, Google snatched up Motorola Mobility — and that move was as much about strengthening their position in living rooms as it was about Android phones and tablets.
Now, a new FCC filing has the web buzzing with talk of a Google-built home entertainment device. Right now, around 250 Google employees in the U.S. are testing a device that could very well look like the one you see above. That’s part of Project Tungsten, an amalgamation of Google Music, Android, and the Android@Home framework for home automation. Google showed off the glowing, alien gadgets at I/O 2011 back in May, just three months before the Motorola acquisition. This particular device was constantly connected to the cloud (in this case Google Music) and allowed you to play music throughout your home via a remote control app on an Android tablet or phone. Start the app, choose which receiver (or receivers) you want to stream music to, and fire up a playlist.
It doesn’t have to stop at just music, of course, and it wouldn’t if Google really does intend to put something like this up for sale. It’s safe to assume that the final box would feature Google TV software and integrate with all their other products, too, including YouTube, Google Docs, Google +, Picasa, and Chrome OS.
A single box could keep all your documents, photos, videos, and music synced up to the cloud with minimal effort, let you stream media and utilize DVR functions, allow you to print on your home printer from anywhere in the world using Google Chrome, and act as a central control panel for scheduling Android@Home light bulbs, cameras, and whatever other devices manufacturers eventually offer up. You could even be playing rich, 3D games in the Chrome browser on your big-screen TV — or buying them in the Android Market.
This single box could change the face of home entertainment and automation, and it could certainly present some stiff competition for Apple TV. And since it’s a set-top box, it’ll even work nicely with that Apple HD television we’ve been hearing so much about — assuming you’re alright with running both Android and iOS products in tandem.
By the time you read this, Google may already have taken the wraps off this secret device as a Google TV announcement is expected for Monday February 13th, according to Google’s Facebook page.
Building a product and selling it to consumers is a new gambit for Google, who until now has provided other manufacturers with the software and services they need to power their own devices. Google does, however, have the wide spectrum of products and services necessary to pull off a device like this, and they’ve got the brand recognition to draw consumers in for a closer look.
Moreover, rumours that the company is about to take the first steps toward competing with Apple at retail have been heating up, despite Google’s claims to the contrary. If there’s any truth to these early speculations, we could soon see Google stores in the same malls as Apple. Wouldn’t that be something?
With more than 700,000 Android device activations every day around the globe and millions of users surfing the web in Google Chrome, Google has a captive audience that can’t wait to see what this home entertainment device is capable of.
[Source: The Wall Street Journal]