Now Google’s plans for the living room come into focus with a simple TV interface, apps, games and more
Shortly after Chromecast’s launch last July, Sundar Pichai in an interview with AllThingsD talking about Chromecast stated that something like Google TV was more of a high end system for applications and gaming, while Chromecast was on the low end for streaming. Over the past year, Google TV set top boxes have seen very little on the update front while Android TV or Nexus TV reports continued to churn at the rumor mill. Today, The Verge has obtained exclusive evidence that Android TV is real and that Google plans to make Android TV your go to entertainment hub.
Android TV aims to pick up where Google TV failed, by making the living room experience “cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast”. Google wants the Android TV UI to be something more than a modified smartphone user interface and a separate computing platform, aligning with other set top boxes such as Roku, Apple TV, or even the newly announced Fire TV from Amazon. The Android TV UI will consist of scrolling cards that represent content for TV shows, movies, music, apps, and games. You’ll interact with your Android TV by using a four way directional pad on your remote control, an optional game controller, or voice input.
Google plans to stand out from other manufacturers by putting “the Google” into Android TV. Instead of always having to browse through content, trying to find something to watch, play, or listen to, Google’s entertainment hub will proactively recommend things for you to do right on the home screen. This almost sounds similar to the Listen Now feature of Google Play Music, but for more than just music. Google also plans to harness their cloud syncing capabilities, allowing you to resume content you started watching on your smartphone or tablet. Google wants living room goers to never be more than 3 clicks or gestures away from getting exactly what they want.
As for apps, according to The Verge and the images above, we see that Play Movies, Play Music, YouTube, Hangouts, are available. We also see that big hitters such as Songza, Pandora, Hulu, Vevo, and Netflix are in the pipeline as well. Google is encouraging developers to optimize their applications for a consistent living room experience, focusing on simplicity.
What’s this mean for Chromecast? Seeing as the $35 dongle just launched in other parts of the world, it seems Chromecast has a niche of it’s own to fill as originally stated by Sundar last summer. It is a little odd that Google would want developers to focus on yet another platform, but it’s still way too early to tell as we have very little information on this subject.
But Google still wants the living room, and Android TV could be a foot back in the door.
Google declined to comment for this story.