Google is rumored to be working on a Nexus-branded set-top box that could debut in the first half of 2014. In addition to typical streaming media duties, the box will double as a gaming platform according to people who have seen the device or were told about it as first published by The Information (subscription required).
The box reportedly doesn’t handle live television but it does run Android game apps using a touchscreen controller. It isn’t entirely clear if the touchscreen controller in question is a device bundled with the box or simply a user’s existing smartphone or tablet although if I had to venture a guess, it’d be the latter.
The publication suggests that an aggressively priced gaming machine that is versatile enough to play streaming videos from the web could give Google the advertising leverage it needs to make a serious run at the living room.
Google is off to a solid start with regard to their living room takeover as the $35 Chromecast dongle has sold incredibly well thus far. Sure, a dongle is a bit different than a true dedicated set-top box and as Engadget points out, it’ll be interesting to see what the search giant can bring to the table to compete with the likes of Apple TV, Roku and even the Ouya.
Amazon has also been the subject of similar rumors as of late. Given their vast content network, they stand a good chance to emerge as one of the frontrunners when (and if) they ever bring a set-top box to market.