Amazon Reportedly Developing Amazon-Branded Android Console

The Amazon Crystal BallAmazon is reportedly developing an Amazon-branded TV console that would run on Android and use apps found on the Amazon Appstore for Android. The device will supposedly have its own dedicated game controller and be available by Black Friday for the holiday shopping season.

I have one word for this rumor: Please. OK, four more words: Let it be true!

The story comes from GameInformer [via Joystiq], who was "approached" by people "who have knowledge of the in-development hardware," most likely people outside of Amazon itself. VentureBeat published a response story where it said it had independently "heard rumblings of an Amazon game console."

No one has any details, but allow me to offer some speculation:

  1. The stories are most likely based on at least a kernel of truth. Amazon probably is playing around with a console.
  2. That doesn't necessarily mean such a product will get released. Just as is true with Apple, testing and playing and developing usually don't lead to shipping when it comes to hardware.
  3. "Runs Android" assuredly means "runs a forked version of Android that has a dedicated interface designed to access Amazon products and services and shop on Amazon." This was Amazon's strategy for Kindle Fire, and it will certainly be the company's strategy for any other hardware it ships.
  4. The thing will be a piece of crap offering a sub-par gaming experience and Amazon will discover that people interested in console gaming are not interested in low-end experiences.
  5. It turns our I'm wrong about that last point and there are quite a few people who just want to play a low-resolution version of Angry Birds on their TV.

VentureBeat noted that there are new entrants in a so-called "$60 console game" market. My gut reaction is that Apple's Apple TV and Google's Chromecast could do a much better job of tapping into that market, if it even exists.

Both companies have dedicated developers looking to make money by selling apps through the App Store and Google Play. Neither company is doing soon their streaming TV devices yet, but either could if they wanted.

In comparison, Amazon's developer outreach has remained anemic. For instance, there are still very, very few apps on the Amazon Appstore for Android that run native on the company's Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablet.

In that light, how good would an Amazon console experience be? Not very, is my guess, and at the end of the day, that's why I think this rumor will come to nought.