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New Android Console Enters Kickstarter, Challenges Ouya

Now that developer kits for the Android-based Ouya console are finally rolling out, a new competitor has wandered onto Kickstarter, sporting a smaller form factor and a smaller budget. So far the project has claimed nearly 700 backers promising over $64,000 USD out of the $100,000 goal, and there's only 29 more days to go.

"We've had a great response from the developer community interested in the big screen as well as from those used to working with the larger console manufacturers - such as Andrew Eades, CEO of Relentless Software - creators of the Buzz franchise on PS3 amongst other great hits," the GameStick team states.

The console's selling point is to put big-screen gaming in your pocket. Instead of using a hand-sized block-shaped form factor, this Android console is roughly the size of a USB stick. Even more, it will reportedly sell for only $79 once the device actually goes "retail".

"We set out to create a big screen games console that was so small you could pop it in your pocket," the team writes. "It's tiny! So small in fact that GameStick fits inside it's own controller so you can take all your games with you to any TV you like, anywhere. Simply plug it into the HDMI slot, grab the controller and play away."

Out of the roughly 700,000 games now offered in the Android ecosystem, over 200 titles will be ideal for the new pocket-sized console. "But we are working with our network of over 250 developers including great studios such as Madfinger, Hutch, Disney and others to bring you the best line-up," the team adds. "What's really cool is that the average cost of a game on GameStick will be just a few dollars and many will be free to play."

Currently a prototype is up and running, with a final pre-production sample around 90-percent complete. It works with any Bluetooth controller supporting HID including the Greenthrottle Games controller. However the team is working on its own Bluetooth-based gamepad which is in the final stages of development.

"The last thing we are looking at is the final positioning of the GameStick transport slot, which we may move to the rear of the controller - we expect the pre-production samples to be ready in 5-6 weeks," the team states.

So far the GameStick consists of an Amlogic 8726-MX processor, 1 GB of DDR3 memory, 8 GB of internal storage (which will hold around three Gameloft games), 802.11 b/g/n wireless connectivity, Bluetooth LE 4.0, Full HD 1080p video decoding, and Google's Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" OS. It also features a content download manager with cloud storage for games.

"Putting games on TV is in our blood - we've been doing it for years, from early Pay TV solutions to today's Smart TVs," the team states. "One thing we have learned along the way is that it is never simple. We think we've found a great route with GameStick and have been fortunate enough to be able to use a lot of the underlying technology we have already developed to help get this project off the ground."

For more information about the GameStick Kickstarter project, head here.