Google is gearing up to stake a claim on the home hub / entertainment system / cloud gateway / home music market. It has hardware plans and it could be ready to move later this year. By Ian Scales.
That's the latest word from The Wall Street Journal's 'sources' (familiar with the company's plans etc...)
It says Google is planning to enter the home hub come entertainment market with a WiFi-based Google gadget capable of streaming content all over the house to phones, PCs, tablets and consumer electronics devices like televisions and stereos.
Such a device would also clearly be capable of orchestrating 'traditional' home network applications such as security, meter readers and other emerging M2M applications.
Google's exact plans are unclear of course, but it is most likely to be doing its hardware prototype trick (as it has with the Nexus Android phone and the Chrome OS netbook) where it turns out a demo product which it half-heartedly sells as way of encouraging licensees to follow ("Chase me!") once the marketability of the product is proven. It will be interesting to see if the Motorola devices division Google is in the process of buying will be one of the takers-up of whatever it is Google is prepping - Motorola is also big in the cable settop box area and this rumoured product is very clearly settop box territory.
The product (if product it is) is thought to have emerged from the Android group, which presumably means it may be another Android OS variant. That would all make sense as Google has long promoted the notion that Android could and should be spread across multiple classes of device so that Google can orchestrate the creation one big open environment accessible through a diverse family of gadgets supplied and enhanced by different players.
It makes perfect sense. Let's count the potential connections and synergies: Google has its online music service called Google Music. That is integrated with Google+ social network. Google also has Google TV, a Internet-connected TV enabler being embedded in TV sets, video disk players and so on.
To complete the picture, Google is also reported to be preparing a "cloud-drive" competitor to existing services like Dropbox, which will presumably offer digital locker-style freemium storage well above the current 8Gig or so available to each individual user for the entire Google environment.
With a cloud drive in place such a home hub device would make a perfect companion, enabling Google and its ecosystem to potentially make inroads into the, as yet, almost completely untapped home hub / home networking market.
In fact, sources or no sources, it would be surprising if Google wasn't planning to orchestrate a home hub product to pull all those activities together.
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