Google isn't giving up its living room ambitions. The company is said to be working on a "Nexus TV" device that will run Android, stream video from services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, and play a selection of video games. The rumor comes from The Information's Amir Efrati, who cites an anonymous Google employee. The device is said to be ready for launch as soon as the first half of next year, according to the report.
Rumors of a Google-made Android set top box go back to July of this year, when The Wall Street Journal reported that such a device was demoed by Andy Rubin behind closed doors at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Sources told the paper at the time that the box included a Kinect-like motion sensor and could be controlled with an Android smartphone. Today's report from The Information corroborates these details (though a motion sensor is not mentioned), and adds that a purpose-built touchpad remote could be included with the set-top box. Google reportedly showed off a version of the box to developers as recently as this fall.
It's said that the device will not support live broadcast, which would mean Google could avoid the hassle of trying to bring traditional content providers on board. That's a task that's so far proved impossible for other companies: Intel abandoned its efforts to launch an internet set-top box after failing to secure such deals, and it's rumored that an Apple television device has been delayed for similar reasons. If the Nexus TV reports are accurate, Google seems to be pursuing a similar strategy as Amazon, which is rumored to have a set-top box of its own set for next year.
Google has launched a number of products to attempt to gain a foothold in the living room, starting with the ill-fated (but still living) Google TV operating system that manufacturers built into smart TVs and other devices. It later announced the expensive Nexus Q (which never officially went on sale), and this year it began selling a small HDMI dongle called the Chromecast, which streams from just a few services and costs $35. The latter has seen some success, but it's a device with a simple feature set. A fully-fledged Nexus TV set-top box that runs Android would be in a different category — though today's report suggests it will be "aggressively priced."