Google's top-secret experiment in home entertainment
The internet search giant is setting its crosshairs on your living room. Would an Android-powered home catch on?
Is this move a natural progression for Google, or does it have flop written all over it?
What exactly is the device? Google is keeping a tight lid on the project. But the "initial purpose of the device will be for streaming music" through a person's home, say David Streitfeld and Nicole Perlroth at the New York Times, with the aim to move into "much wider" territory later. It could be related to a project called "Android@Home" says Chris Davis at Slashgear, which was demonstrated at Google I/O in 2011. The system allows users to control various devices scattered through the house while connecting them with an Android-based operating system. For example, someone would theoretically be able to play music from an Android tablet on Google-made speakers throughout the home.
Why move into home electronics? It's simple. "As the Internet matures," say the Times' Streitfeld and Perlroth, "the leading companies are trying to create full-fledged ecosystems to preserve their individual dominance." That's why Amazon (AMZN) started making tablets, and Apple moved from hardware to selling content through iTunes. Such a move would allow Google to lock users into its products and online marketplaces.
Is this a wise move? It will diversify Google's product line, at least. The company is "looking for promising gushers other than its gangbusters search advertising business," says Jessica Guynn at the Los Angeles Times, "which accounts for nearly all of its revenue." Earlier this year, the company paid $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility (MMI) -- a hardware manufacturer that specializes in "set-top boxes and mobile handsets." By moving into consumer electronics with more Google-branded products, Google is moving "into closer competition with Apple (AAPL)."
When would the new device come out? It's too early to say. Google is just requesting to test a prototype in select cities, including New York and Los Angeles. The FCC filing asked to test 252 devices between Jan. 17 and July 17. And remember, says Casey Johnston at Ars Technica, this is merely the testing phase, so it's possible that nothing will "ever come into consumers' hands that resembles anything like this."
More from The Week:
- Should Apple make a mini iPad?
- 4 reasons Google's 'Search plus Your World' is a very big deal
- 6 surprising things social media can predict
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
'We're not exactly in a uniformly strong market,' says the notably pessimistic newsletter publisher.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.