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BlueStacks' new Android console is (almost) free forever

The GamePop Mini is free to subscribers of the mobile gaming service and available for preorder on Monday.

This free device brings a plethora of Android games to your TV.

BlueStacks really wants to see Android spread across all the disparate screens in the universe, and it's willing to hand out a free gaming console based on Google's mobile OS to help achieve that vision.

Today the company behind the BlueStacks app player, which brings Android apps to other platforms like Windows, and the $129 Android-based GamePop mobile gaming console and service announced the GamePop Mini, a free version of the console available to subscribers who pay a $6.99 monthly fee.

BlueStacks has already been handing out the original GamePop for free as part of a special promotion that ends on Sunday. The GamePop Mini will be available for pre-order the following day and is scheduled to ship in the winter. Both the full-sized and mini versions will run Jelly Bean 4.2 and connect to a screen via an included HDMI cable. A GamePop subscription works in a style similar to Netflix with an all-you-can-play plan that includes access to games from hundreds of developers such as HalfBrick, Glu and Intellijoy. BlueStacks says a subscription will include access to over $200 in normally paid games for free.

"We have always planned on having a free console option," said BlueStacks CEO Rosen Sharma in a press release Friday. "The biggest value of the GamePop service is its content - not the box. With the free promotion we've been doing in June we're already seeing a ton of adoption."

BlueStacks is also working on a system that will allow iOS-only developers to bring their creations to GamePop.

The GamePop Mini's form factor is significantly more compact than the original GamePop, and while BlueStacks hasn't released specific specs, the company FAQ says this about the difference between the two:

The GamePop will be more powerful than the Mini, but the Mini will be able to handle all of your favorite apps and games plenty well. There may also be more peripherals available for the GamePop.

It also notes that subscribers can keep the GamePop Mini if they cancel any time after 12 months into the subscription. Cancel before a year is up and you'll have to return the Mini and pay a $25 restocking fee.

What do you think about the prospects for the GamePop mini? Will we soon all be training to be Fruit Ninjas with our families in the living room, or will the GamePop fail to satisfy and merely become a gateway to a meatier budget console like the Ouya?