Tech mega-giant Google is entering in the foray of gaming by announcing they’re developing a video game console and wrist watch powered by its Android operating system. This is a direct response to the possible Apple watch being developed (rumored).
Games that run on Android have proved particularly popular, and are growing faster than the games made for big-hitters Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. Development methods are changing to encourage and embrace this change in trend.
The people briefed on the matter said Google is reacting in part to expectations that rival Apple will launch a videogame console as part of its next Apple TV product release, while Apple remains mum.
Google has also been watching the efforts of Ouya Inc., a startup that this week began selling a $99 Android-based console and game controller, one of these people said.
The company’s hardware efforts come as it wraps up development on the next version of Android, which is expected to be released in the fall. Among other things, the software will be better tailored to the lower-cost smartphones prevalent in developing countries with the aim of firming up Android’s market-share globally, said some of the people familiar with the matter.
Google, through its Android unit and Google X hardware lab, is seeking to build devices separately from the company’s Motorola MSI +0.61% hardware division. The handset maker was acquired last year and is currently focused on launching an Android-based smartphone called the Moto X, these people said.
Meanwhile, Google has been developing low-cost Android smartphones of its own with an eye toward offering them in developing markets, other people familiar with the matter have said, including in markets where Google plans to fund or help create next-generation wireless networks.
With the next release of Android this fall, Google is also moving more aggressively to use the software in additional kinds of devices, including laptops and appliances such as refrigerators.
Personal-computer makers including Hewlett Packard Co. are already working on Android-powered laptops running the next version of the software, an effort that is separate from already launched Android tablets that can physically connect to a keyboard, according to people familiar with the matter. Android laptops would thus compete with those powered by Microsoft’s Windows software. An H-P spokeswoman declined to comment.
Android is offered free to makers of devices like smartphones and tablets, with Samsung Electronics Co. the biggest of Google’s hardware partners. The hardware helps Google generate revenue from services like Google Search and YouTube.
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