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Razer jumps into Android TV, announces development of micro-console

updated 04:55 pm EDT, Wed June 25, 2014

Android TV set-top box set for fall release with an emphasis placed on gaming

One of the first Android TV boxes has already been announced, but it might not come from a vendor consumers were expecting. Gaming company Razer, famous for their mice and keyboards, said today it would be creating a micro-console based on Android TV technology which Google confirmed on Wednesday at the I/O conference. The console comes at a time when there is a single major Android gaming machine, the Ouya, already on the market.

Thinking it to be a ruse, people took to Twitter asking Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan if the console was actually happening. Tan confirmed that it would be, turning to retweeting coverage of the device.

Keeping tight-lipped on the contents of the set-top box, Razer said that the console will be powered by Android TV, but places an emphasis on gaming. The yet-to-be-named micro-console will be controlled by a special application for Android smartphones and tablets. Considering that Razer experimented with other software in the past, like Razer Comms and Game Booster, it wouldn't be surprising to see them roll out a custom app rather than rely on one from Google.

"This is the console of the future," said Tan. "Built on Google's incredible Android TV platform, the Razer micro-console incorporates not only hardcore and casual gaming, but music, movies and other entertainment and social applications, all on an affordable system."

The team behind some of Razer's recent developments in the computing world are working on the console, according to the company. Previous projects for the designers include the Razer Blade and Razer Blade Pro laptops, as well as the modular PC, Project Christine, the company showed off at CES 2014.

By using Android TV, the Razer will be entering a crowded market full of competitors like Apple, Amazon, Roku and game consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Android TV focuses on the entertainment in the home, including streaming movies, music and apps on a television. However, the difference comes with Razer's focus on gaming. This makes the only real competitor in the market the Ouya, which has not seen widespread adoption after a successful $8.5 million Kickstarter.

In the last year, Razer has been expanding into fields outside of the gaming peripherals that it is famous for. The company released a new version of the Blade laptop, a device that it admits it didn't anticipate demand for properly. Razer has also opened up a licensing program to build system cases with manufacturers such as NZXT. Perhaps the biggest project for the company this year involves the jump into the smartband market with the health-oriented Nabu.

by MacNN Staff



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