Android is probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think of serious players in the game console market space, but according to the Wall Street Journal, Google is out to change that. A recent WSJ report highlighted the Mountain View, California-based search engine giant’s plans to get an Android-based gaming system into consumers’ hands quickly, perhaps as early this fall.
Image by Wikimedia Commons user brionv
Fierce Product Development Competition with Apple
While Google owns Android, it won’t be the first company to offer a console running the OS— that honor belongs to the Kickstarted-funded venture Ouya. In Google’s eye, the real prize is not being the first to market so much as getting its product in consumers’ hands before Apple can launch its own AppleTV-powered gaming device.
Google is also hard at work on an Android-powered wristwatch, which it hopes can steal some thunder from Apple’s long-rumored iWatch product and cash-in on consumer interest in wearable computers. If the buzz surrounding the highly-anticipated Google Glass is any indication of public interest in wearable devices, Google’s emphasis on an Android watch seems well-founded.
A History of Mixed Results
That’s good news for the company. Previous attempts to crack the device market— such as it Nexus Q streaming media device, which according to ZDNet never received a public after complaints about its proposed price point caused decision makers to pull the plug on the project–have not consistently yielded strong results. Still, the WSJ report hints at a possible Nexus Q relaunch in the near future. That relaunch could spur interest in the GoogleTV smart TV platform, which would be good news for consumers and retailers like GetDirectTV.org who are likely to appreciate GoogleTV’s commitment to working cooperatively with existing cable and satellite providers.
Google’s current interest in consumer products is a departure from its other projects in the recent past. Many of those ventures focused on providing strong and reliable Internet infrastructure. For example, the company announced the launch of Google Fiber in 2011. Fiber was an attempt to provide low-cost, incredibly high-speed data transmission capability to homeowners in the hopes of displacing their current cable and Internet providers. Similarly, Google also announced its support for Project Loon, an attempt to use specially equipped balloons floating at extremely high altitudes to provide Internet connectivity to developing countries or locations struggling to recover from natural disasters.
Envisioning Access for Everyone
While there is certainly money to make in producing hot new mobile devices, developing gaming consoles and cornering the cable television market, Google’s real genius lies in its larger strategy of enabling quick and ubiquitous online access. At its heart, Google is an advertising company. No matter how lucrative its B2C products become, the company’s greatest income stream will always come from it’s B2B clients— the countless businesses that rely on the search engine to get their websites found and their marketing messages seen. Google is in the perfect position to attract an ever-expanding audience and monetize its vast store of information concerning online consumer behavior. That kind of reach and that kind if information are the sorts of commodities for which advertisers are willing to pay.
By Jiro Watanabe