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Kickstarter-backed GameStick for Android facing production delays

The release of the Kickstarter-backed, Android-based GameStick has been pushed back one month due to production delays.

"We now expect to ship product from China during early August and expect it to be with you by the middle of the month, prior to units launching in retail," GameStick producer PlayJam said in an update.

The GameStick plugs into a TV's HDMI slot for immediate game play. It's been about five months since it earned $647,658 (£418,273) from more than 5,500 backers on Kickstarter, but the team said it needs a little more time to refine things before releasing it into the wild.

Fifty people who pledged more than $300 (£194) got special "Designed By Me" beta versions of the GameStick to test out. Those were supposed to ship in March, but they went out late "because it has taken a while longer to prepare the review UI than we had hoped," PlayJam said.

That was due, in part, to the fact that the developer version of the hardware differed slightly from the production hardware. "This has required a duplication of effort that we have had to balance with ensuring that work on the final units maintained momentum," PlayJam added.

PlayJam said it wants more feedback before finalising the GameStick user interface and starting mass production. "We appreciate that this will frustrate backers keen to get their hands on their device but we did not feel it was fair to bypass this step as it was a key pledge and the feedback will be really welcome," the company said.

PlayJam did provide a sneak peek at the GameStick, including the completed controller, which has a storage slot for the GameStick drive. The dock, meanwhile, was "quite a large engineering challenge" because of overheating concerns, PlayJam said, but a fan has been added.

On the software side, the team has been working on functions like auto TV detect, the ability to use up to four controllers via one stick, and auto pairing, so controllers link up with the right sticks.

"By far the biggest amount of work has gone in to writing the software systems to feed the UI," PlayJam said. "We showed the full app store at private sessions at E3 last week. People seemed to find it easy and intuitive to use which is a great start."

PlayJam isn't the only company pursuing an Android-based console. Ouya, which earned $8.6 million (£5.6 million) on Kickstarter - and recently secured another $15 million (£9.7 million) in funding - is coming out on 25 June, after its own delay. BlueStacks is also pursuing the GamePop console, which will make Android and iOS games playable on the TV.