27
Jun
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According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is working on a few things. They are, according to the world's most infamous tipster "People Familiar With The Matter," working on an Android-powered video game console. And a smart watch. And a new Nexus Q. And the possibility of Android-powered appliances (like refrigerators). And Laptops. And, oh yeah, low-cost phones for developing markets.

Typically we avoid reporting on too-good-to-be-true rumors, but today's alleged revelation is a real whopper. Since it comes from the Wall Street Journal – which often comes through on rumors – it might just be worth keeping an eye on.

The watch Google is reported to be working on, according to the post, is meant to combat the also as-yet-fictional smart watch expected from Apple (and watches expected from everyone else). The console, likewise, is thought to be a predictive reaction to competition from Cupertino and others.

Low-cost Android smartphones designed by Google would apparently target developing markets, including those where "Google plans to fund or help create next-generation wireless networks," according to the WSJ.

As for laptops and appliances like refrigerators? The WSJ says that Google's "K Release" of Android will allow manufacturers to stuff the OS into more devices and form factors than were previously practical (though companies like Dacor have already given it a shot).

The Wall Street Journal goes on to discuss a possible next-generation Nexus Q which "will be much less expensive," according to the sources. Unfortunately, no other juicy details were available on that front.

All of these devices are said to be designed by Google, with the big G also handling marketing responsibilities. As for when we can expect this veritable shower of so far shadowy devices to arrive? WSJ says Google "hopes to … release at least one of them this fall."

With Google having dipped its toes into industrial design and manufacturing already (with devices like the Nexus Q and Glass), this is probably the easiest to swallow rumor of the bunch.

Closing out the flurry of rumors, WSJ reiterates something we've heard before – the upcoming version of Android will "remedy" the issues of less-than-ideal performance on older or underpowered hardware.

As for official confirmation? Don't be silly. Spokespeople on all sides declined comment.

Of course, we'll be keeping a sharp eye on all these rumors, but until more information becomes available, check out the WSJ's original post below.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Benjamin Pavel

    Woohoo, this news got me excited.
    Can't wait for next Google event. :D

  • http://www.mathewhanley.com/ Mathew Hanley
    • Sean Lumly

      Great insight! Kudos to you if this turns out to be the case.

  • fixxmyhead

    When the hell is 4.3 coming?

  • https://plus.google.com/116879163037230501137/posts Cullen Maglothin

    I could easily see a next gen Q also being a Google TV and a game console. That would certainly make more people want to buy the device, especially if Google drops the Q's price as is rumored.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      The way WSJ reads, the console and Q will be separate. If however all of these things plus media streaming were rolled into the Q, I'd definitely consider it.

      • Aleksey_US

        Although this time around they should sign a Contract with Hulu ahead of time ...

      • Drew M

        I think it makes sense to have a low-cost Nexus Q separate from a console, since a lot of people just want a cheap streaming solution.

  • angel_spain

    "Closing out the flurry of rumors, WSJ reiterates something we've heard before – the upcoming version of Android will "remedy" the issues of less-than-ideal performance on older or underpowered hardware."
    At this point I got horny.

    • Sean

      LOL, are there any more details/speculation about this part of it? My interest has been piqued.

      • Adrian Meredith

        This is already confirmed by google io talks. They showed the new rendering pipeline can half the amount of draw requests needed to draw an app (they used g+ as an example). They've also built a shit ton of new tools to help them profile gpu/thread performance (this will also massively reduce audio output latency too). This they said was for a "upcoming release" so its project butter 2.0.

        • soarealb

          do you have a link to this goole io talk page ? is tje project butter 2.0 an official name cause i cant find anything.

  • Phill_S

    "The watch Google is reported to be working on, according to the post, is meant to combat the also as-yet-fictional smart watch expected from Apple (and watches expected from everyoneelse). The console, likewise, is thought to be a predictive reaction to competition from Cupertino and others."

    So, the best way to get awesome stuff is to make up a rumour that Apple is making awesome stuff, then make up a rumour that Google is making awesome stuff in response to Apple making awesome stuff, chuck in rumours of Samsung making awesome stuff and sooner or later someone in charge of making awesome stuff will have to make the awesome stuff as rumoured to combat the awesome stuff the other side is rumoured to be making.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Yes.

    • Chester Moy

      The Men Who Stare at Goats.

    • http://GPlus.to/Abhisshack Abhisshack

      HAhahahahaa ROFLMao

    • ThoFeelExp

      That's awesome stuff indeed

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    The most exciting rumour I have seen this year is that Google is working to make Android laptop friendly - that will be amazing news. I believe it was reported to be launching in the autumn (fall) but that other companies were going to launch laptop devices with existing Android versions because they wanted to beat each other to the market rather than waiting for Google. So far - the laptop style devices running existing versions of Android seems to be coming to fruition so the rest of the rumour may well be true.

    • Phill_S

      This sounds just like how every 6 months during the two big Google events the new rumour comes out that Android and Chrome OS is going to merge and then soon after one of the Google guys need to repeat that there are no plans to do so.

      Android has always been pitched as a phone and tablet OS with Chrome as the laptop OS. Honestly I dont see how "laptop optimised Android" would be different or significantly why anyone would want it.

      • ins0mn1a

        ok, i'm gonna try to explain why i would want a laptop optimized android. it's like in that video explaining ubuntu for android (sorry, too lazy to search for a link): you already have a full general purpose computer in your pocket, why not expand its usability? right now tablets are designed mostly for content consumption, but with a few tweaks they could be so much more. imagine the best of two worlds: a device that is always on, always connected, light enough to (almost) always carry, but still capable to instantaneously go into the "pc mode" when you want to get some work done. obviously it is never going to replace a real workstation, but for getting things done on the road it could be quite useful. for example blog/article/book/presentation/whatever writing, system administration via ssh or some such, excel sheet manipulation, document and photo editing... none of these requires a super computer, but they are not exactly joyful activities on a tablet without keyboard for longer than a few minutes.

        now all this is just speculation, maybe if i tried using such a device i would conclude i hate it (i am extremely fussy about my computers after all), but i would sure as hell like to try it.

        • siypion

          Not to shoot you down but you just named windows 8.1 Rt/Pro you know that right?

          • ins0mn1a

            i see what you mean ;). the thing is: win rt is worse than android in terms of apps etc, and pro runs only on x86 and that still means a heavy device with insufficient battery life. i might not be objective (i kind of don't like windows, i find it slow, confusing, buggy), but i believe android has a better chance of filling in a few gaps to allow it some pc functions than windows has of becoming a decent tablet os.

    • Sean Lumly

      The only thing that Android needs to become laptop-ready (besides the obvious device form factor), is the ability to see more than one app on the screen at the same time. The keyboard and mouse already work exceptionally well, however, the lack of a split screen makes it difficult to use in place of a laptop.

      The UI could also be tweaked for this form factor -- I am generally referring to the lower nav bar.

      But such changes should be easy, and with Android's incredible app ecosystem, and lightweight OS, it would provide a very interesting option for casual consumers.

      • Drew M

        When cornerstone appeared a couple of years ago on the Xoom, I really thought Google would incorporate some of the functionality to go toe-to-toe with Win8, before that even reached the market. Sadly, they didn't because tablets would hugely benefit from this as well as convertibles (Transformers) and laptops.

        • Sean Lumly

          I also thought that this would be the case, but it seemed that the Android team lacked vision. Hopefully this feature still makes it into Android devices (at least anything from 5" up) as it would make all the difference for a productive environment, and is the sole characteristic really holding Android back from a productive environment.

          Google should provide a split-screen similar to what Samsung implemented in their Note line of devices.

      • Leonardo Farage Freitas

        Google should incorporate the Multiwindow functionality from Samsung's Note family, specifically the Note 10.1 implementation.

        • Sean Lumly

          I would personally prefer not, because I'm not much a fan of multi-window. Multiple windows are easily cluttered, have large screen-wasting headers, and take much time to arrange.

          I am much more a fan of multi-pane or split-screen displays, as they are very intuitive, and easy to arrange. Samsung implemented a great version of this with their Note line of devices. Windows 8 also has split-screen functionality.

          I would also really like to see multi-desktop (via the nav bar). Having quick access to 2 to 4 working desktops that can be split into multiple panes would be tremendously handy as it has proven on the desktop.

          • Leonardo Farage Freitas

            In the attached image, the screenshot is presenting the cascade version of Multiwindow. It has the splitscreen functionality also.

            The multi-desktop functionality you're speaking of is something like Ubuntu desktop?

          • Sean Lumly

            Yes! And yes, the multi-desktop is like the multi-desktop in X-Windows for linux, or Wayland in Ubuntu. It's very easy to partition working groups of apps together on a single 'desktop', and quickly switch between desktops to access them. It is very useful.

            For example, I currently have 3 tiled terminals on one of my Ubuntu desktops, and a single Chrome window open in an adjacent desktop. There is no need to re-organize windows, or raise/lower windows to access my files. I just slide to the different desktop and switch gears.

            Now that many systems (including phones) have at least 1GB of memory, multi-pane, multi-desktop should not be a problem to implement and (IMO) is sorely needed.

          • ins0mn1a

            there is another thing that is needed: multiple simultaneous instances of the same app. i was trying to show three excel tables on my nexus 10 to some people at work the other day. since we would need to go back and forth between them, i opened one file in office suite pro, one in documents to go and one in quickoffice . this served my purpose at the time, but now that i think about it, it's a bit silly.

          • Sean Lumly

            Yes! Thank you.. This would be so helpful in a number of situations (eg. cutting and pasting between applications).

        • Stacey

          Heck no, that's a cluttered mess.

          EDIT: Never mind. I didn't read your follow-up comment.

      • Primalxconvoy

        I use my Galaxy Note 2 as a desktop via the smart Dock and I agree. I just wish the right mouse button was notthe "" Burton, that the resulting would change so that text was small without the need to change it individually in apps and that docking mode automatically could enable or disable certain features as the user sees fit when docked.

        Also, copy and paste still needs some work.

    • dtraini30

      Oohhhh I wonder what is in store for my Chromebook Pixel? :)

  • me

    no .. not more american companies in the game console market .. microsoft is bad enough

    • https://plus.google.com/116879163037230501137/posts Cullen Maglothin

      Competition spurs innovation. Only good can come from Google entering the market with a decent mobile based console.

    • Primalxconvoy

      Don't be silly. Geography is irrelevant.

  • Aleksey_US

    As a separate project they should work on fixing up their whole supply and ordering process of their phones... every single nexus launch has been a complete disaster in that regard.

    • Primalxconvoy

      Yup. I was under the impression that a nexus was "carrier free", due to the fact you could buy the phone, for a cost, direct from Google.

      Also, they had the the phone off the time plastered all over the Japanese website but no one could order it.

      That's when I gave up on nexus.

  • Larizard

    With the way Goog is going about breaking the core Android experience apart, I wouldn't be surprised if they go the "Apple way" and introduce new versions of Android to older devices but removing key features that obsolete hardware aren't able to run.

    How about this?

    1) Separate Google Apps from the core Android framework.
    2) Put said apps to the Play Store for everyone to Download.
    3) Limit Downloads using the hardware Compatibility check of the Play Store.
    4) Push newest Android release (minus Google Apps) to ALL phones.
    5) Allow Users to update their apps from the Play Store (Automatically over the background, if they so choose).

    So people can still have the "latest" Android version, but missing components of it that the hardware can't support. Apple-style.

    PS: I'll bet my leg and a half that the new app Camera that came with the Nexus Experience phones will be available from the Play Store to everyone with a device able to run it.

    • Drew M

      I think the 4.3 camera app still requires 4.2. Google hasn't licensed the hardware in non-Google devices, so they can't update them even if they had the desire to and support from the carriers and manufacturers.

    • steve

      This would remove the complaint about fragmentation that Apple holds over them for sure. Also, they have begun #1, 2. But the carrier restrictions on phones seem to be the biggest problem. What would be the mechanism for #4? Sincerely asking here.

  • Godspoken

    If they are working on a console, it best not be one of those crappy budget ones that people love to make Kickstarters for. I want a real competitor to the PS4 and XONE. It would sure test my loyalty since I love Playstation so much.

  • akshay

    This console is gonna be a good game portal .A like for google
    http://www.theandroidreview.com

  • Keyz Karanza

    A Google Game Console. Hmmm...is it possible to pre-order a rumor?

    • Cherokee4Life

      but the problem is games.. What would this said game console run? Only Android Games? because that will leave a lot of people wanting. Android needs a AAA game like Halo or something for the game console to flurish!

      Believe me I will be first in line if this is true but I am sceptical

      • subramanianv

        Some of the Gameloft and Madfinger games are not that bad. Most often the control scheme makes the game worse. If google gets that right, it might work.
        I bet the Halo that is now did not exist when the original Xbox was released. Current android titles like Shawdow Gun, Modern Combat, NFS and Asphalt are decent titles start with.
        Microsoft is (rumored?) bringing Age of Empires to Android. Who knows? Some day you could even see the Halo on Android.
        I think if the games are priced right (like now $6.99 is going rate for EA and Gameloft games), it could give some competition to Microsoft and Sony, and probably will kill Nintendo on the way.

        • Cherokee4Life

          very true, I will give you that Halo didn't start off like it is now. It grew into what it is, however I think Android still needs "more" complete games. There are only a few "console length" games out there now.

  • Primalxconvoy

    Looking forward to the console, considering I've caverns my Kickstarter ouya.

  • Taylor LaBrier

    I'm ready for Skynet to terminate my wallet....