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Google developing gaming console, smartwatch, and more in major Android expansion, says WSJ

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Android 4.0 welcome robot (STOCK)
Android 4.0 welcome robot (STOCK)

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is working on its own Android-powered gaming console and smartwatch — and a replacement for the Nexus Q is also on the way. The report states that Mountain View hopes to ship at least one of the products by this fall, and plans to both design and market them itself. In recent months, Android gaming consoles like Ouya and the GameStick have received a tremendous amount of attention — the Ouya went on sale at retailers just this week — but according to the Journal's sources Google's move to create a console is also based on expectations that Apple will add gaming to a future version of the Apple TV.

Improvements for low-cost smartphones

Google is currently working on the next iteration of the Android operating system, which will reportedly be better suited for the low-cost smartphones that are taking off in developing countries. Google is said to be developing its own low-cost smartphones — a one-two punch that could prove effective against efforts like Mozilla's Firefox OS. Through its Google X hardware facilities the company is also reportedly working on "next-generation" Android devices separate from the hardware its subsidiary Motorola is developing.

According to the Journal, expanding Android's reach across multiple product types is a big part of Google's plans. HP is named as one hardware partner that is working on a new laptop that will run the next version of Android, internally named "K release" (our own sources have indicated the shipping name will be Key Lime Pie). The Journal reports that the Android-powered laptop is intended to be a direct competitor to Windows computers.

HP is working on an Android laptop

As part of that broader plan, the new version will also feature official, Google-sanctioned support for a broad range of new device types — from the laptops mentioned above, to appliances and wearables. The latter is shaping up to be a crowded market even before it's really taken off; Sony recently announced the SmartWatch 2, and both Apple and Samsung are said to be working on wearable devices of their own. The new version of Android will reportedly arrive sometime this fall.