Google just staked its – third, fourth? – claim for the living room with the Nexus Player. The search giant announced seemingly out of the blue on October 15 that its Android TV-based set-top box will be available for pre-order starting October 17.
Despite previous leaks of what was then known as Android TV (that's just the name of the platform), the now-confirmed Asus-built box is actually more like a round puck. The all-black, matte plastic device is a 120 x 120 x 20 mm (W x D x H) cylinder powered by a 1.8GHz, quad-core Intel Atom chip supported by and Imagination PowerVR Series 6 GPU.
That said, of course the Nexus Player is designed for both media streaming and gaming. Hooked up to the Google Play Store, you can download all manner of movies, streaming apps and games to the Nexus Player's tiny 8GB of storage. Plus, the Nexus Player is 100% Google Cast ready: beam content from almost any device right to the console, just like the Chromecast.
Other specs include HDMI-out (up to 1080p at 60Hz refresh rate), one microUSB 2.0 port, 802.11ac Wi-Fi (with 2x2 MIMO) and Bluetooth 4.0. The latter is how the included Bluetooth Smart remote – with voice control, mind you – connects to the device.
Ouchies for Ouya (and everyone else?)
Sadly, Google likely just rung the death knells for the crowd-funded Android gaming box with one simple announcement. Google will sell the already-leaked Nexus Player game controller, also made by Asus, separately for a currently undisclosed price.
This move also puts extra pressure on the likes of Amazon; it's Amazon Fire TV is capable of playing any Android game released through its proprietary app store, which is decidedly smaller than Google Play. Apple, with only its AirPlay technology via its Apple TV puck, seems to also be square in Google and Asus's sights with this feature.
Google hasn't said a peep about how much the Nexus Player – and the sold-separately controller – will cost. This is particularly interesting, given that pre-orders start October 17, and the device hits major retailers come November 3. Stay tuned, as they.
- What about that PlayStation TV?