Razer’s Fiona prototype eventually become the Razer Edge gaming tablet.
Gaming hardware and lifestyle company Razer is poised to release a new mobile device later this year, according to an interview on CNBC’s Managing Asia with Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan. “I can say that we are coming up with a mobile device specifically geared towards gamers and entertainment,” he said. “We are hoping to have it come by the end of the year.”
Razer has launched what could be considered mobile gaming devices before. In addition to its popular line of Razer Blade laptops, the company revealed a Windows-driven gaming tablet, called the Razer Edge, at CES in 2013. Ars had good things to say about it at the time. The Edge was positioned as a gaming tablet, though it was certainly capable of playing videos or music and other entertainment applications. Tan played up the importance of the entertainment-side for this new device—and for Razer as a company moving forward.
“Entertainment is going to be massive,” he said, when talking about the future of both Razer and the industry. He talked up Razer’s acquisition of THX last year, and when CNBC asked him if Razer will become an entertainment company, he said: “Well, we already are. I mean, given that gaming’s probably the largest segment in entertainment. What else is left? There’s movies and there’s music.”
In addition to THX, Razer has acquired Ouya, which produced a gaming console and digital storefront, and Nextbit, a smartphone maker. The Nextbit acquisition in January started rumors about a mobile device from Razer. The Nextbit Robin was billed as a cloud storage-focused smartphone. Ars found it to be more of a curiosity than a viable device, but many of its basic technologies could be applied to a mobile gaming and entertainment device. In the CNBC interview, Tan said that Razer makes acquisitions primarily for talent.
These diverse acquisitions and Razer’s own varied product suite make predicting what this new device could look like difficult. For example, which operating system will it use? NVIDIA, another big player in the gaming hardware and lifestyle space, released an Android-based portable gaming and entertainment console called the NVIDIA Shield that emphasized in-home streaming, and the Ouya console that Razer acquired (and discontinued) ran Android. But Razer decided to use Windows instead of Android on the Edge.
Clarifications and details were scant in the CNBC interview, which mainly focused on Razer’s business. Razer currently has more than 1,000 employees and sees more than $400 million in revenue, and the company is preparing to go public by the end of the year with an expected value between $3 and $5 billion. Tan said he hopes the IPO will give Razer a war chest from which to fund new product R&D, so we will likely see more new products like this if the IPO goes as the company hopes.