Google(s GOOG) is looking far beyond smartphones and tablets for its mobile operating system, Android: it is reportedly planning on building a whole slew of Android-based devices, including a smart watch and a video game console, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The motivation is two-fold, according to the Journal’ unnamed sources: to “cement the company’s reputation as a hardware maker” and to compete with Apple:(s AAPL)
And that’s not all: Google is also said to be taking another crack at the doomed Nexus Q, a home media device that was scuttled almost as quickly as it was announced last year.
At least one of these is supposed to be announced some time this fall, but it wasn’t clear which one was on that schedule.
A recent meme in tech circles has been that Apple is “no longer innovating” and Google is the one with all the ideas. But Google is, at least according to this report, playing pre-emptive defense in categories it thinks Apple will enter.
So Google thinks Apple is bringing games to Apple TV — which is not a bad bet, considering the inclusion of game controller APIs in iOS 7, rumors of game controller cases for the iPhone, and the company’s continual expansion of content to Apple TV. And clearly it’s a good idea for Google as well: it has about as many apps and games in its Google Play store as Apple does in its own App Store.
Apple has never said anything public about a smart watch, but there’s been no shortage of speculation, or reports, that Apple is interested in getting into this business eventually. The smart watch category is pretty obvious for Google, and for any mobile company, really, since wearable tech is only going to grow as a device category.
What’s interesting is who will be first to these categories. Tim Cook already pretty much said no new product categories until 2014, so that does give Google a window of opportunity in the next few months.