Android TV : Could it Mean Third Time Lucky for Google?
Google has been trying very hard to get into our living rooms for long time now. Google TV was introduced way back in 2010 with the first Google TV’s being made by Sony and Logitech. In the second generation of devices, LG, Asus and others had also partnered on Google TV. But sadly, Google TV wasn’t a success. Nor was the Nexus Q which was a media-streaming entertainment device introduced in June 2012. Even Nexus Q wasn’t much of a success and later was replaced by Chromecast which was launched at last year’s Google I/O.
Though, it seems like Google’s new Android TV may have a bright future ahead of it. Since Google has only showcased the developer-kit of the Android TV called ADT-1, you won’t be able to buy it for a while. But that won’t be an issue once manufacturers begin selling their consumer-facing devices later this fall. Android TV is still in pre-production, so a lot of things are likely to change between now and its final release.
Unlike its previous effort in smart TV software mentioned above, Android TV will work with a number of different chipsets. It’s designed to enable Android developers to create apps using the same Android toolset that they use for mobile phones and tablets.
Android TV will play movies and TV shows, and users will be able to control it via mobiles phones and tablets. Google Engineering Director Dave Burke showed off how the system works to enable search and navigation either via text or voice. He even showed off the ability to control the TV via an Android Gear Smartwatch.
Chromecast will run on Android TV with full support, so users can beam content from their mobile devices straight to the TV. The new platform also enables users to launch an app store developed specifically for a 10/UI.
According to Google, the OS will be available for smart TVs (Sony and Sharp have signed on to build televisions with the OS built in), media streamers, set-top boxes, cable boxes and micro consoles. This platform will be ideal for those manufacturers that are interested in getting into the smart TV businesses, but don’t have the resources to develop their own ecosystem. It’s a good opportunity for smaller companies and start-ups to help building the Android TV hardware.
Google pointed out some technical requirements to ensure that Android TV doesn’t offer an inconsistent user experience such as:
- 2GB of RAM,
- 8GB of flash storage,
- WiFi and/or Ethernet,
- Bluetooth 4,
- Play-ready DRM,
- Widevine level
Companies also suggested to incorporate mics for voice input, and standardized controller button mapping. These guidelines are cricial because the system needs to be powerful enough to handle graphic-intensive games, entertainment apps and connectivity between the TV and mobile devices via Google Cast which Google is focusing on with Android TV.
No one can give a final verdict for Android TV as yet, company has a long way ahead as far as it is concerned. Of course, a lot will depend on the pricing of the new software which has to compete with the already settled Smart TV makers.