Razer, a PC and gaming accessory manufacturer with ecosystem fantasies, recently launched its Forge Android TV "console" to outright terrible customer reviews on Amazon largely because the box shipped without Netflix support or the promised PC game streaming feature meant to compete with NVIDIA's GameStream technology. Basically, it's junk at the moment - buggy and incomplete.
Ouya, a Kickstarter Cinderella story if Cinderella ended with the protagonist being sold into human bondage as a mannequin model at a moderately successful but tasteless high-end garment and shoe factory, also shipped a console box thing at one point, and we thought it was also pretty much terrible.
There hasn't been much news out of OUYA for the last year or so, and Razer's first effort at mobile hardware, the Android TV-powered Forge TV, hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire either. Would combining forces make either of these products better? Probably not. But according to a recent post on TechCrunch, at least someone thinks it might be a good idea.
Razer's Forge TV, one of the only third party stand-alone Android TV devices announced since the platform launched, is already available as a pre-order from Amazon. Now you can get it straight from the serpent's mouth: Razer is accepting pre-orders for both the Forge TV and the bundle with a Serval controller. The set-top box alone is shipping out on April 29th, with the bundle coming a little later on May 5th.
The Forge TV is a standard Android TV device with a Snapdragon 805 system-on-a-chip, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and support for USB 3.0 hardware and gigabit Ethernet on top of the usual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Let's be honest here: there hasn't been much movement for Android TV since the Nexus Player was released way back in November. Though Sony has committed to using ATV in its upcoming smart TVs, the actual availability of Google's latest set-top box is depressingly low. But two gaming-centric Android TV units are on the horizon, and one of them is from veteran PC accessory vendor Razer. The Forge TV now has an unconfirmed release date (May 1st) and at least one pre-order retailer (Amazon).
The only thing available at the moment, and indeed, the only hint of the Forge TV we've seen since its unveiling at CES in January, is the "Forge TV Bundle."
Not content with making a stylish Android set-top box, Razer is also planning on attacking the Android gaming market on its home turf. The Serval is a full-sized, console-style Bluetooth game controller that's compatible with both Razer's Forge TV and direct connection with Android phones and tablets. It's far from the first controller made with Android in mind, but it's the first to come from perhaps the most high-profile game peripheral company out there, and is thus worthy of examination.
In terms of configuration, the Serval is essentially a green-tinted copy of the Xbox 360 controller, which has become more or less the standard for wide-ranging video game input.
We've known that Razer was working on its own branded version of an Android TV set-top box for more than half a year, but at CES 2015 the well-known gaming peripheral company has given the gadget its coming out party. The Razer Forge TV hopes to be the go-to choice for gamers, with support for up to four simultaneous players, keyboard and mouse input, and (eventually) streaming high-end games from a local gaming PC.
The Forge TV box itself is a nondescript slab that looks something like a blacked-out version of a Mac Mini with Razer's triple snake logo on top.
Everyone is making a wearable thing now, but you can't buy Razer's Nabu smart band just yet. The device is still in limited beta trials, but once it's out, the newly released Nabu Android app will tie it to your phone. I guess until then you can stare longingly at the login screen.
Most of you are probably aware of the Razer brand through their admittedly awesome and phenomenally expensive PC gaming peripherals. Before the end of the year, they'll have a presence in the Android world as well. According to a press release, Razer will be developing its own Android TV product with (of course) a focus on gaming. It's currently planned for release in the fall, which might line it up with the wider Android TV debut.
Razer has been expanding into creating its own gaming hardware as of late, with its Blade laptops and Edge Windows tablet getting impressive feedback from reviewers even with their sky-high price tags.