PlayJam’s GameStick Redefines Android Gaming on the Telly

Video gaming made a transition from fully fledged consoles to portable devices. Nowadays, console manufacturers have turned their attention to devices powered by mobile operating systems that work on tellies, simply because… well, bigger is better, at least when it comes to the diagonal of the screen.

The GameStick, as PlayJam’s video game console is called, is portable only in the sense that you can carry it in your pocket wherever you want. Mind you, a TV is still necessary for using it, so if you’re interested in playing Android games in the outdoors, you will still have to rely on a smartphone or a tablet.

As its name suggests, the console looks very much like a stick or even a USB flash drive, from a distance. Upon closer analysis, people will notice that it does not connect to TV sets via USB, but through HDMI. The form factor is one of the strongest points of this device, and the developers emphasize this fact with every chance they get.

The specs of the console, while not mindblowing, are sufficient for playing any Android game now and in the foreseeable future. More precisely, the Gamestick packs a Amlogic 8726-MX CPU that is aided by 1GB of DDR3 RAM. The 8GB of internal memory should be enough for storing plenty of Android games. Additional cloud storage is provided for games that do not fit on the console itself. GameStick runs on Android Jelly Bean, but it’s not clear whether it is 4.1 or 4.2.

As far as connectivity goes, the GameStick comes with Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) and Bluetooth LE 4.0. The latter technology is used for communicating with the controller. Speaking of the controller, it operates in one of the three possible modes: gamepad, mouse or keyboard. Up to 4 controllers can be used with the GameStick console, so anyone concerned about not being able to play multiplayer games should take their mind off that. The controller also includes a slot where the console fits.

There is an unsettling resemblance between GameStick and OUYA, and open-source Android console that was featured on Kickstarter in August and started shipping recently. The design of the two devices is obviously different, but they both address Android gaming on TV sets and even the videos promoting the consoles have similarities.

This console is currently featured on Kickstarter, where it raised $37,000 more than its $100,000 goal, with 28 more days to go. It seems that people are confident about GameStick’s success, and judging by the numbers, there’s no doubt that it is going to enter mass production. Since the EarlyBird packs are sold out, anyone wanting to get their mitts on the console will have to contribute $79 or more.

If you liked this post, please check OUYA, the open source Android console and this history lesson on console gaming.

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