The name for computer entertainment company Envizions’ new home gaming console may get phone maker HTC’s knickers in a twist, because Envizions today announced that their EVO 2 will be available this fall.
The console, which looks similar to a wireless router, comes complete with an HDMI cable, TV Remote and a red controller that looks suspiciously similar to Microsoft’s award-winning Xbox 360 controller. But what makes the EVO 2 so unique is that it will be the first home gaming console to run Google’s Android 2.2 operating system, designed primarily for mobile phones and currently powering HTC’s equally majuscule-laden EVO 4G smartphone.
Looking at the technical specifications, it’s essentially just a big smartphone, sans screen and cellular antenna, with an added controller. At its heart is a Samsung 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB DDR2 memory powering a modified version of Android 2.2. In an attempt to prevent the console from getting stale and falling short of expectations, Envizions plans to add 3D motion support later on this year.
The EVO 2 aims to be a central hub of entertainment not only as a gaming console, but as a media storage device for music and movies and a key player in social networking with Twitter and Facebook. Also, as an open platform, anyone is able to develop, modify, tweak and disassemble whatever they need to in order to make games, apps and add-ons how they see fit.
But is having an Android 2.2-powered gaming system a worthwhile idea? Android 2.2 was never designed for anything beyond phones, as was made painfully evident with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. While playing Angry Birds on the big-screen seems a fun idea, part of the draw of casual games on Android is that they’re available whenever, wherever. What could spell disaster for the console is that almost every app on the Android Market was designed for touchscreen interfaces, and unless you’ve got some fancy touchscreen TV, there’s no say in how games are going to translate onto the controller-based EVO 2, if they even translate at all, leaving the console with a crippling lack of games. Additionally, current home consoles like the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and, to a lesser extent, the Wii, have so much dominance and presence (not to mention, far better hardware) that the EVO 2 seems almost destined to fail. And while the EVO touts its social networking capabilities, the Playstation 3 has a web browser that can easily access the same networks and the Xbox 360 even has apps for it, provided you have a Xbox LIVE Gold membership.
In the end, it will depend on the market of gamers to see whether this console ends up on the top of the charts or on the shelves of those kiosks you see in the mall selling less-than-popular toys.
Got some pre-orders you want to get in? Check out Best Buy in the Mall of New Hampshire on South Willow for their cool touchscreen pre-order kiosk that could land you some sweet in-game goodness in all those titles you’re losing sleep over.
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