With the Kickstarter-funded OUYA and Nvidia's handheld Shield currently out on the market, Android console watchers are now turning their peeps to the Kickstarter-funded GameStick. The device was originally slated for an April release, but as of August 16, the developers reported that the first shipments will finally head out to Kickstarter backers by the middle of September.
Backing up that claim is a possible sighting of the console's Bluetooth controller over on the FCC this week. The base device itself will sport a Cortex-A9 based Amlogic 8726-MX SoC, 1 GB of DDR3 RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, Wireless N and Bluetooth LE 4.0 connectivity, and a custom "forked" version of Google's Android "Jelly Bean" platform. The stick-shaped console will plug into any HDTV's HDMI port and can be shoved into the Bluetooth controller for easy storage when not in use.
"The Team, led by Jasper Smith, a veteran of the interactive games and TV sector, is obsessed about bringing the best possible games experience to the big screen and is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to achieve that goal," the team states on Kickstarter. "Working with Anthony Johnson and Luke Lam, GameStick has been incubated within PlayJam over the last 12 months."
Amazon and GameStop actually list the estimated retail launch as September 30, but customers can pre-order the device now for a respectable $79.99 USD. One controller comes with the Android console, and apps for both iOS and Android will be made available so that smartphones and tablets can be used as touch-based controllers as well. Support for XBMC and DLNA will reportedly be added next month in an optional firmware upgrade.
Unfortunately, GameStick will follow OUYA's closed network path and rely on its own Android Marketplace instead of Google Play to serve up games. To this date, Nvidia's Shield is the only Android console offering a pure Google Play experience. Thus for GameStick, that closed-network approach means developers will need to port their games over to the new console's storefront.
"So far we have identified 200 titles that will be great to play on GameStick but we are working with our network of over 250 developers including great studios such as Madfinger, Hutch, Disney and others to bring you the best line-up," the team states. "What's really cool is that the average cost of a game on GameStick will be just a few dollars and many will be free to play."
For more information about the GameStick Android console, head here.