Google Stadia starts testing non-Pixel phones, runs on an ebook reader

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Depending on who you ask, Google Stadia is either the future of game streaming or yet another one of Google’s public experiments that could be canceled in the very near future. While it shows plenty of potential, much of that has not yet been reached, especially its promise to game anywhere on any device. For Android phones, that has so far been limited to Google’s Pixel phones (except the very first Pixel) but now it seems that Google is finally taking baby steps to expand Stadia’s reach to other brands.

One of the advertised benefits of game streaming services like Google Stadia is the ability to bypass the usual hardware requirements like PCs or consoles. Given Google’s control over Chromecast, the Chrome browser, and Android, it isn’t hard to imagine that Stadia would and should be available on those devices, no matter the manufacturer. Of course, Google has more control over Pixel phones than others and it is natural that it will want to give its own phones some preferential treatment and a good head start.

According to a few reports, however, Google has seemingly initiated A/B testing of Stadia on other OEM phones where subscribers are greeted with a “This screen” to start playing on their non-Pixel phone. That option seems to disappear after just one game, suggesting the almost random nature of the testing process.

Of course, there are other unofficial ways to get Stadia running on any Android device running Android 9 Pie at least. Emphasis on “any” because it turns out it can even run on an ebook reader, the Onyx Boox Max 3, that happens to use exactly that version of Android. That reader amusingly has an “X-mode” feature that bumps up the refresh rate exactly for playing games on the monochrome E-Ink screen.

It is, of course, the least ideal way to experience Stadia, though the reader’s display latency seems to make the criticized latency of the service almost bearable. Perhaps the experience will be better on a colored E-Ink device.

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