The long-awaited Atari VCS retro console may also end up being a decent productivity device. Atari announced today that the system will feature Google Chrome as its built in browser, allowing you to access websites and the full suite of Google Workspace apps, like Chrome, Docs and Meet, from your couch. The Atari VCS will also support most major PC accessories, which includes webcams along with the usual keyboard and mice.
The Chrome integration isn’t a huge stretch from the console’s existing feature set though. Atari had previously announced that you can also run PC operating systems from the VCS, including Windows, Linux and ChromeOS. Having the most popular browser around baked in from the start means you won’t have to do any complex OS setup to use the VCS as a pseudo mini-desktop.
Atari also unveiled the VCS Companion app for iOS and Android, which will let you use your mobile device as a virtual mouse and keyboard on Chrome and other apps. While much of this reeks of Microsoft’s failed WebTV experiment, I’d imagine some buyers may find these PC-liked features useful. And don’t forget, this console will also be able to play actual Atari games. If you want more retro titles from other consoles, you can also subscribe to Antstream’s service for a larger variety.
The Atari VCS is currently shipping out to early backers after significant delays. Atari says preorders and general retail availability will ship out in early 2021. You can preorder an “all in” bundle with a retro joystick and modern controller for $390 from Atari.