In 2010 Google developed a machine that would later on morph into the Android TV, expected at the end of this first quarter—Google TV if you can remember. The 10-foot interface machine had Android and Chrome perfectly laced together, with a physical QWERTY remote on the side. Although the machine allowed consumers to enjoy apps, games and online videos on their TVs, it had a smörgåsbord of issues that killed it before it even got a chance to see the light.
From laggy apps and poor customization options to a disappointing overall experience, Google had no option but discontinue the machine; adding it to a long list of failed innovations, until recently when it had it morphed into the Android TV.
As the name suggests, Android TV is simply based on the same concept as your Android smartphone or tablet. But instead of having the OS running on a portable device, Google developers have found a way to integrate the service into an Android TV, which allows you to access BBC, Netflix, 4oD, IPlayer and well any other Android app on a bigger TV screen.
Also noted is the recommendation engine, designed to fill you in on what’s new based on the keywords you use to Google search. Even more interesting is that you can search either by typing or using your voice as a command.
Much like Amazon Fire and PlayStation TV, Android TV lets you watch movies and TV shows, as well as play online video games. Although Android TV mostly depends on Google Play Store for the content it delivers, it can still search through third party websites for more content.
For instance, if you have Blinkbox and Netflix installed on your Android TV and you happen to search for movies starring Taraji P or any other actor of your choice, your Android TV should be able to display results from all the aforementioned video streaming websites.
Of course, you can still watch regular TV, the usual way, on your Android TV. Better yet, Sharp, Sony and Philips are all getting on board. So as 2015 sets off, we expect to have Android TV integrated into the aforementioned TV sets.
According to David Burke, the engineering director of Android, all Android-based TVs will be able to handle videos straight from the sources including IPTV receivers, HDMI, and TV tuners. As such, we speculate there will be Freesat and Freeview smart TVs running the Android TV by the end of the year.
The set backs
If you’re hooked to Google’s entire ecological unit, Android TV will definitely work better for you. As for iOS owner, don’t fret—iPhones will be tying in with Chromecast, just to ensure you get to enjoy the same Android TV experience with your iDevices.
All the 2015 Sony, TP vision, and sharp smart TVs will come installed with Android TV. Also expected are set-top boxes. But until now, nothing like the Chromecast-style dongle has been hinted release.
From the look of things, Chromecast will continue stacking up against its existing competitors, particularly Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. But for Android TV, its chief competitors include smart TV ecosystems such as the webOs.
Android TV launch
Google revealed it will be releasing the first round of Android TV sets during March this year. Even though they didn’t make it clear whether the TV will be launched in the US only or other places as well, you can expect to have the TV sets in a retail store near you by the end of March.