Originally PlayJam Ltd's GameStick Android console was slated to hit the market today, but popular game retailer and investor GameStop shows that the $79.99 device isn't scheduled to arrive until November 15, the same day the PlayStation 4 arrives. We've reached out to a company rep to see what's caused the delay, but it may have something to do with fine tuning the console based on feedback from the press and early adopters.
Like OUYA, GameStick is a closed Android ecosystem that doesn't provide access to Google Play and other Google services. Owners are required to re-purchase their games if available, although given the price of apps, die-hard Android gamers may overlook this inconvenience. The hardware bundle itself consists of an HDMI extension cable so that the console doesn't stick straight out, the gamepad, and the console unit itself.
The GameStick is really just that: a stick-shaped Android gaming console with built in Wireless N connectivity. The actual unit measures 2.75 x 1.125 x 0.4375 inches not counting the extra 0.375-inch HDMI connector. This device can fit inside the controller, making it more convenient to carry than the boxy OUYA. We've had the Gamestick for several weeks now and so far the only issue we've seen is a lag in the rechargeable controller when its power gets too low.
Like OUYA, GameStick began as a Kickstarter protect. This one launched on January 2 and ended February 1, landing 5,691 backers pledging $647,658 USD and surpassing the $100,000 goal. The console was originally slated for an April release, but high demand supposedly pushed the launch back to June. The team then announced that the device wouldn't ship to retail until early November.
The GameStick packs an ARM Cortex-A9 based Amlogic 8726-MX SoC with 1 GB of DDR3 memory and 8 GB of internal storage. The device is also powered by a forked version of Android 4.2 "Jelly Bean", which doesn't allow access to the core operating system (OUYA does to some degree). The device also has Bluetooth LE 4.0 and a microSD card slot for even more storage.
If we get a response in regards to why GameStick was pushed back a week, we'll slap it right here. So far all we've heard is that "it's out to backers, just not at retail yet."
UPDATE - Here's a response from PlayJam CMO Anthony Johnson: "The date was pushed back to the 15th for no other reason than production / logistics delays. GameStop’s shipment landed in Texas this morning awaiting customs clearance so it is well on its way. We had a few teething issues highlighted during our Kickstarter activations - the majority of which have been ironed out."