Friday 4 January 2013

New $79 Android-based console is as big as a flash drive

Looks like the Ouya will be facing some competition. PlayJam is building its own Android-based TV console, dubbed the GameStick, that is not much bigger than a pen drive. The portability afforded by such a small form factor could possibly be one of the system’s main selling points.

The form factor allows the console to be stowed inside its own gamepad and draw power from the HDMI port. It will run on Jelly Bean and will be powered by a dual-core Amlogic processor. While not as powerful as the Ouya, which runs on Nvidia's Tegra 3 CPU, the GameStick does have the price on its side, costing $79, as opposed to the Ouya's $99 price tag.

The console has 1GB of DDR3 RAM with 8GB of in-built storage, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n support, Bluetooth 4.0, support for mouse and keyboard setup, and full 1080p HD video decoding.

PlayJam is looking to draw funding for the GameStick the same way Ouya did—through a Kickstarter campaign. The company is asking for $100,000 to develop it, and at the time of writing, has managed to raise $64,242 with 29 days remaining.

Much like the Ouya, the GameStick also aims to be open. According to PlayJam, "Harnessing the Android ecosystem, GameStick is a completely open platform. If you love creating or playing games, you will love GameStick."

The company is relying on the Android's ecosystem of over 700,000 games to be the main source of entertainment on the GameStick. PlayJam has also stated that it is working with its network of over 250 developers, including Hutch, Disney, and Madfinger. The GameStick will have games costing as much as a typical Android game, and many will also be free to play.

PlayJam is also making its tools available to other manufacturers. The company's Kickstarter page states, "We're about driving and supporting innovation, and to prove that, we are making everything we build—our tools, services and developer community available to other manufacturers. We think this will really accelerate change; a good thing for players and the industry as a whole."

Ouya recently released a video that showed everything that was packed in the dev kits developers and backers of the console's Kickstarter campaign received. The official release of the console is slated for March 2013.

Along with the console itself, the dev kit contains a letter to developers that warns of the bugs that might be present as it is still an early version of the console. For those who aren't developers, the note also mentions that the early development kit does not include any games.

The dev kit includes two controllers that are made of plastic and are transparent. The plastic is set to be changed for the official launch. The controllers feature removable covers that will let owners customise the look of their controllers as well as house the batteries.

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