Google Inc. is developing a home entertainment system that streams music wirelessly throughout the home and would be marketed under the company's own brand, according to people briefed on the company's plans.
effort marks the internet company's first full-fledged effort to design
and market consumer electronics devices under the Google brand, and it
represents a sharp shift in strategy. Google has up to now mainly
focused on developing the Android software that powers devices such as
smartphones and tablets and allowing other companies to build and brand
the hardware that uses it.
Google's Android unit has led a
multi-year effort to develop the device, which may stream other digital
media besides music and is expected to be unveiled later this year,
people familiar with the matter said.
The effort, along with
Google's pending purchase of device maker Motorola Mobility Holdings
Inc., shows how serious the internet giant is about wanting to control
both the software and hardware process, a formula used by rival Apple
It's unclear which retailers would sell the Google Android
entertainment system, which would let people download digital media such
as music and stream it to Google-made speakers or other web-connected
devices in people's homes, these people said. Google currently offers
music for sale through a digital store called Android Market, which
rivals Apple's iTunes store. People could operate the Google system
using a smartphone or tablet, these people said.
A Google spokesman declined to comment.