The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is developing its own Android gaming console, a smartwatch which we already knew about, and the second generation Nexus Q streaming media player. The paper reports that the former two devices are in response to similar devices in the works over at iPhone giant, Apple.
Does that mean an iOS gaming console is in the works too? Sources told the paper that Apple is expected to launch such a device as part of its next Apple TV product release. That's likely in the September/October window, and is a good reason why Google is shooting to release one of its three reported gadgets by the fall.
That said, all bets are on the Android console, as five third-party solutions are already slated to arrive this year, including the currently sold out OUYA, Nvidia's Shield which was delayed to July, and the upcoming GameStick, GamePop and Mad Catz's M.O.J.O. consoles. Knowing Google, it believes a Nexus-flavored console needs to show competitors how it's done and trump whatever Apple has in its cards for Fall 2013.
Sources said that Google has been keeping a close eye on OUYA, a startup funded by Kickstarter that launched its Android console this week and sold out in mere hours. It's powered by Nvidia's older Tegra 3 SoC, but the pricetag is a mere $99, making it cheaper than a tablet for customers who only want Android gaming in the living room. Its biggest roadblock is its own walled garden; games cannot be imported from Google Play and Amazon Appstore.
Google has reportedly wrapped up development of Android 4.3 "Jelly Bean," and is expected to be distributed this fall. That means there is a good chance Google's gaming console will have Android 4.3 out of the box and heavily rely on the new gaming platform launched last month featuring matchmaking, leaderboards and more.
The paper also discussed Google's plan for Android 5.0 "Key Lime Pie," saying that the company is giving ODMs like Samsung greater freedom to use Android in form factors other than smartphones and tablets. That includes appliances and wearable devices, the latter of which Samsung is already developing using Android. Previously, device makers weren't allowed to promote the Android brand outside smartphones and tablets.
As for the next-generation Nexus Q, it will be less expensive than the former media player. It's also expected to help sell more movies and music through Google Play. Just recently Google launched Music All Access, a subscription service that seemingly paves the way for Google's media streaming player. There's a good chance this device will sport Android 5.0 "Key Lime Pie" as well, but we'll see.