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.