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Do You Really Need an Amazon Android Console?

Android consoles

The latest rumors say that Amazon is in the process of developing an Android home console for release before the end of 2013. Even though the prospect of an Amazon-backed game console may sound sexy, you probably don't need one, whether you're a gamer, an Android user or both.

Amazon Android console, should there be one, inevitably invites a comparison with the Ouya: the Kickstarted Android console that launched earlier this year. The Ouya is a tiny box with an Xbox-like controller that you hook up to your TV in order to play Android games.

Android consoles are a bit of a hot topic right now, and there is undoubtedly something attractive about a cheap, open-source console, friendly to consumers and developers alike. Especially compared to the bloated, traditional console and complicated gaming-PC markets, an Android console sounds wholesome and simple.

Still, the Ouya has struggled right out of the gate, and its difficulties may foreshadow those that an Amazon box would face. Although the Amazon brand carries a lot of weight and generally indicates quality (look at the success of the Kindle), the fact is that unless you want a console ripe for hacking, you're probably better off with either traditional consoles or a moderately powerful Android tablet.

MORE: Best Tablets 2013

Android Games

The Google Play store has come a long way in the last few years, and while the game market on Android is not quite as robust as its iOS counterpart, it's not very far off. However, Android is, by definition, a mobile platform. Most Android games are best consumed on the subway or waiting at the grocery store checkout line. Sitting down at your TV for a few hours to play "BioShock Infinite" is fun; doing the same for "Angry Birds" could get tedious very quickly.

Of course, some hardcore titles for Android do exist. Square Enix has re-released classics like "Final Fantasy IV" and "Chrono Trigger," while Rockstar has made everything from "Grand Theft Auto III" to "Max Payne" available. If these games sound appealing to you, though, you're probably already a core gamer. And you likely already have a modern console, handheld or PC where you could also get these or similar titles.

An unmodified Android console, then, is not too useful for core gamers. Casual games, especially those for Android, are on the rise, though, so maybe an Android console is the perfect entry point for newcomers. After all, no one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a hobby they may not enjoy or have time for.