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More Details on Google's Home Entertainment System

By - Source: THe Wall Street Journal | B 8 comments

An FCC filing by Google has brought Project Tungsten back into the spotlight after nearly a year.

News of Google's plans for a home entertainment system isn't really new -- the company demonstrated its hopes and dreams last year at Google I/O 2011 during the Day One Keynote. Essentially the company wants consumers to have a network of accessories with Android baked right in -- aka the Android@Home Framework -- which will talk to each other, and to non-Android devices.

For instance, Google Calendar could control when the lights in the house turn on and off through an Android-based device. A music CD could be swiped next to a special NFC-packed gadget and unlock the digital version to be played from the cloud to connected speakers. Last year Google even demonstrated an Android-based hub that streamed music to a set of Wi-Fi speakers, or to a stereo system in the next room.

Nearly one year later, news has surfaced that Google is still working on the hinted "Project Tungsten" entertainment system thanks to the Wall Street Journal. Sources close to the project say that, as seen last year with the reference designs, the system's hub will stream music wirelessly throughout the home to Wi-Fi speakers or other Web-connected devices. And unsurprisingly, the system will be marketed under the company's own brand.

"[The hub] is both a stand-alone Music Beta end-point and a bridge to the Android@Home network" said project head Joe Britt last year. "It's always powered on, and it's always connected to the cloud."

This week the unnamed sources also claimed that Google's entertainment system may stream more than just music -- possibly movies rented from Android Market. Even more, Google will supposedly unveil the new system later this year -- perhaps at Google I/O 2012?

The Wall Street Journal's story probably stems from news released on Monday that an FCC application shows Google developing a home entertainment system. The application describes a device that connects to a Wi-Fi network and communicates with other devices within the home via Bluetooth. The filing asks the FCC to grant 252 employees permission to test the device (hub) in their own homes between January and July (which kills any kind of Google I/O launch).

Unfortunately, the filing doesn't mention anything about the 900 MHz based radio system that Google chose for its Android@Home system. "The device utilizes a standard WiFi/Bluetooth module, and the planned testing is not directed at evaluating the radio frequency characteristics of the module (which are known), but rather at the throughput and stability of the home WiFi networks that will support the device, as well as the basic functionality of the device," the filing reads.

Naturally Google isn't manufacturing its own devices, but will likely rely on hardware partners to produce Android@Home compatible accessories and hubs. We expect to hear more about Google's upcoming entertainment system this June at Google I/O 2012.

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  • 3 Hide
    aftcomet , February 10, 2012 3:13 AM
    I prefer an actual HTPC that I can build myself to my liking than anything pre-built.
  • 2 Hide
    mikenygmail , February 10, 2012 3:23 AM
    Same here, but if a smart company could build a reasonably powerful all-in-one compact unit with AMD A8 or equivalent specs at a reasonable price, it would sell like hotcakes!
  • 0 Hide
    bobusboy , February 10, 2012 4:04 AM
    I hope they roll this out before the iTV crap; and that it's more intuitive and more efficient to use.
  • 3 Hide
    molo9000 , February 10, 2012 7:17 AM
    aftcometI prefer an actual HTPC that I can build myself to my liking than anything pre-built.

    A HTPC is great, but it's just too much of a hassle and too expensive for most people.

    Just the hardware is 500 bucks. A lot more if you need the HDD space for a large collection of HD content.
    Then you still have the problem of content. Easy in an age of online piracy, but that's far from ideal.

    An average user is better off paying 100bucks for a simple idiot-proof set-top-box and 4-5bucks per movie or whatever it is.
  • 1 Hide
    digiex , February 10, 2012 10:02 AM
    I have enough google in my computer already. I surely does not want it to control my house or my life.
  • 3 Hide
    bustapr , February 10, 2012 2:48 PM
    you know how much easier world domination would be if this becomes popular in homes?
  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , February 10, 2012 4:48 PM
    Is that a picture of a sad best buy manager trying to give a crap about selling wireless speakers?
  • 0 Hide
    in_the_loop , February 11, 2012 9:45 AM
    molo9000A HTPC is great, but it's just too much of a hassle and too expensive for most people.Just the hardware is 500 bucks. A lot more if you need the HDD space for a large collection of HD content.Then you still have the problem of content. Easy in an age of online piracy, but that's far from ideal.An average user is better off paying 100bucks for a simple idiot-proof set-top-box and 4-5bucks per movie or whatever it is.


    But we already have DNLA as a standard, which can plays both music, videos and even photos.
    Should be possible to make a music player DNLA compatible too.
    And you don't have to have a HTPC to play DNLA stuff.

    As it is right now my Samsung TV with DNLA is connected to the stereo and I can use my Samsung Galaxy S2 phone, which has DNLA and stream files from the PC via the phone (Which acts like a hub) to the TV.
    In actuallity the phone in this case works like a super remote controll.
    It can also controll the tv (As a remote controll) and even the set top box that is used for the ip-tv that I am using (it's common in Sweden that instead of cable tv we have direct streaming from the internet through set top boxes and, yes, that includes hdtv channels too).
    The latter works by android apps communicating through Wifi (the router) to the devices.
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