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Google developing home entertainment system


(CBS) - Google is developing a home-entertainment system, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The device will "stream music wirelessly throughout the home" and will be branded with the Google name.

Full coverage of Google at Tech Talk

This will be the first time Google will enter the consumer electronics market, unless the company launches a Motorola smartphone first. Google bought Motorola Mobility in 2011, making waves as the search engine's first major investment in a hardware company.

According to the Journal, Google's home entertainment system has been "development for several years" and "is expected to be unveiled later this year."

Some are wondering why Google would enter this market at all. According to the Journal, home entertainment company Sonos raked in $8 billion in profit last year. Compare that to Google's $38 billion profit.

But, the investment could pay off in a big way if cloud computing and music streaming are the future. Google Music beta was quietly launched last summer and got a redesign in the fall.

The updated Google Music featured deeper integration with Google's mobile operating system Android, including the music store, independent artists' hub and mobile billing for music purchases.

If done right, Google could carve out a nice profit from music and app purchases, as well as hardware sales. There's also the potential to include Google TV into the fold. The Smart TV platform was launched in Oct. 2010, with units manufactured by Sony and Logitech.

There's potential for a fully integrated home-entertainment system that can be managed from a set top, desktop, tablet and smartphone. Purchases can be made online, pushed to all devices and move from the home to a handheld seamlessly.

Google did not comment on the report.

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