Android gaming at home has mostly been limited to low-power consoles like the long-awaited Ouya, but a new company hopes to beef up the platform with some serious gaming PC hardware.
Unlike competitors that rely on mobile chips like ARM processors, iConsole.tv is readying a device that uses an x86 CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a 500GB hybrid disk drive/SSD, and an undisclosed GPU. In other words, it's built more like a mini-gaming PC than a feeble Android console.
It also will run a Linux Desktop mode, which means users will be able to access Steam for Linux to get even more games than the Android ecosystem already provides. Mobile Media Ventures even throws in support for CableCard to turn iConsole.tv into a home theater PC.
Currently, the company is offering a $999 developer kit that features an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, but only integrated graphics. It explained that Ivy Bridge vastly outperforms other chips running Android, and that the graphics card that will ship with the actual console will be "at least two to three times more powerful" than Intel's integrated graphics.
The device lacks a price yet, as well as a firm release date. Right now, Mobile Media Ventures said it hopes to launch iConsole.tv in Q4. That vagueness leaves open the possibility that this will turn out to be vaporware, but the company did let Engadget gets its hands on a developer kit to show off its capabilities. In an interview, CEO Christopher Price extolled the potential of Android, not only for serious gaming, but also as "the future of personal computing". He also said iConsole.tv will be priced well below the cost of the developer kit.
Does iConsole.tv have a future as a gaming PC for your HDTV and built on Android? Hopefully we'll have a chance to find out several months from now.