This move could see Google edge closer to its ambition to develop a set-top TV box, to be used for playing games made for Google’s operating system, Android. The games, which have proved popular on smaller devices, could then be played on a TV screen using a camera and motion sensor – similar to Microsoft’s Kinect system.
The development of TV set-top boxes is a growing area of competition between tech companies, with Apple TV already enjoying success, and Amazon poised to release its own version later this year.
Google has been less successful in this field so far. Its Nexus Q device, released in the US in June 2012 and designed to stream the Android operating system with Google Play, flopped spectacularly and was eventually withdrawn from sale in October 2012. CNN named it as one of the ‘top 10 fails’ of the year, a blow for the usually all-conquering Google.
The company may be hoping for more success with its Chromecast dongle, a device that enables mobile content to be played onto a television screen.
And they don’t seem to be taking any chances, acquiring the technology, the knowledge and the expertise of two of Green Throttles founding members, Matt Crowley and Karl Townsend as part of the deal. Karl Townsend has proved his technological wizardry, as he was lead engineer for the development of the palm pilot, a handheld computer released in the late 1990s that was a predecessor to smartphones and tablets.
Californian based Green Throttle were one of the first to develop the use of Bluetooth in the games controller sector. They closed in November 2013 but it soon became clear that the Google acquisition was the reason for this, with Townsend listing his position as “hardware guy at Google” on LinkedIn, and Crowley listed as “product guy.”
Gamers are hoping that more news on the set-top box will be announced at Google I/O in June this year.