Search engine giant, Google, is reportedly working on a wireless home audio system along the lines of Sonos which is rumoured to be part of the company’s “Project Tungsten”.
The Wall Street Journal claimed today (February 10th) that the product would be branded under the Google name. This tech would allow users to have their music streamed throughout their house and controlled by Android devices. WSJ cited sources "familiar in the matter".
“Project Tungsten” was announced last year as an Android Home Music System piece of hardware which acted as a sort of hub for its “Android@Home” technology. It would appear that any audio system would join Google’s growing Google Music ecosystem which allows users to stream their music from their cloud-based storage. This free service is currently only available in the US. What is more, it seems likely that any such system could be extended to include video.
The WSJ reported that any such service would be likely to be free. This is in-keeping with Google's usual advertising-based model. However, it is expected that users would be able to pay for extended storage if they wished.
Such a system would raise the spectre of going head-to-head with the high-end wireless HiFi system company, Sonos.
Clearly still in the realm of rumour, some eye-catching evidence has been rooted out in support. WSJ noted that Google has filed an STA application at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—responsible for regulation of the communications industry in the US—in which they talk of an “entertainment device.”
Within it, Google explains that is it is "developing an entertainment device that requires testing outside the laboratory environment. The device is in the prototyping phase and will be modified prior to final compliance testing."
Along with the launch of “Project Tungsten” in 2011 and the purchase of Motorola Mobility—which is purported to be the future manufacturer of the device— for $13.5 billion to “enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem” evidence appears to be building.
The application also goes on to explained that: "The devices will be tested at Google facilities and within employees residences." This is a process which the California-based giant refers to as "dog-fooding".
If Google does enter the hardware realm using this device it is likely to be a tough slog. Its previous attempts in the form of Google TV and the Google Nexus smartphone came with mixed success. However, these were all manufactured by third parties. This is where the current rumours are particularly interesting, as Google looks set to manufacture the item themselves.
Watch this space.
CORRECTION: The purchase of Motorola was $12.5 billion rather than the original $13.5 billion stated in the original report.