A day after Amazon Game Studios announced three new titles for the Fire TV and the Fire Phone, Google debuted its rival Nexus Player.
News of the Nexus Player was slipped into Google's big announcement Wednesday of the 6-inch Nexus phablet by Motorola and the 8.9-inch Nexus 9, an HTC product.
The Nexus Player, an Asus product, seeks to build on the success of Google's Chromecast, delivering a more robust collection of functions that puts it in the ring with Amazon's Fire TV.
The Nexus Player will be the first device to run the Android TV platform, a modified version of Android 5.0 that uses the OS' Material Design language to tailor interface and navigational features for big screens. The streaming media player is "cast ready," allowing users to "throw" content from mobile devices and computers to their televisions.
The Nexus Player's interface will feature a recommendations system and will allow users to sync content across all Android devices, so movies started on the big-faced Nexus 6 can be picked up on a television that's connected to Google's streaming media player.
A big difference between Chromecast and the Nexus Player is the latter's support for Android apps, which opens the streaming media player to a wealth of video services and Android games. The Nexus Player is the "first-of-its-kind Android gaming device," according to Sundar Pichai, senior vice president, Android, Chrome and Apps.
"With Nexus Player you can play Android games on your HDTV with a gamepad, then keep playing on your phone while you're on the road," says Pichai. "Nexus Player is Google Cast Ready so you can cast your favorite entertainment from almost any Chromebook or Android or iOS phone or tablet to your TV."
If all of Nexus Player's talking points seem familiar, it's because Amazon launched the Fire TV back in April and it even launched a video games studio a couple of years earlier. Like the Fire TV, the Nexus Player will include a remote and has a custom game controller that's been made available as an optional accessory.
While the Fire TV's apps and games are locked behind a proprietary version of Google's own Android OS, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt says there's no question his company's biggest rival is Amazon. Along with the Nexus Player, Google recently heated up the competition with Amazon in the rapid deliveries department, adding Google Express to compete with Amazon Prime.