Google’s Android TV: Strike Three or a Home Run?
Though not everyone sees money in TV, it seems just about every major technology company wants to get in on the bid for prominent placement in living rooms everywhere. The fight comes from companies focused specifically on set top boxes, game console makers, and tech companies from all corners. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) now appears to be boosting its push for the living room.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has its Apple TV set-top box with support for various streaming apps and content. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has the Xbox One, which took aim at becoming the hub for all other entertainment to run through before heading into the TV. Sony (NYSE:SNE) has the PlayStation 4, offering a similar experience to the Xbox One, though with perhaps less inter-connectivity between devices.
It was recently announced that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was releasing it’s own delve into the set-top device category with the Amazon Fire TV. The device features a powerful quad-core processor and a hefty load of memory to put it on top of competitors while keeping a price point of $99. It also looks to take on some of the gaming consoles by featuring a dedicated graphics processing unit for a more complete multimedia experience.
Google already had an inlet to the living room with the Chromecast dongle that could be plugged directly into TVs’ HDMI ports, feeding in content over an internet connection. Apparently, this alone wasn’t enough for Google, as it has been announced that Google will be coming out with an Android TV set-top box with a bit more substance than Chromecast, reports The Verge.
Android TV will aim to offer a very simple interface for accessing video content, apps, and games. The Verge noted that Android TV would intelligently suggest content right from the first screen, rather than requiring you go into apps to find what you want to watch or play. It would also be able to do this based on what users have been watching on their other devices, allowing for simple transitions between devices.
Google has already stumbled at entering the living room with the Google TV. But, many commented that the Google TV venture was overly ambitious in that it tried to create too complex a platform for what needed to be nothing more than a simple interface for finding content and making it play.
Android TV looks to steer clear of that mistake. Though it is also essentially Android, it won’t try to be a complete operating system for TVs. This may help it succeed, but it will also likely lead it into direct competition with all the other players in the set-top box arena — particularly with Amazon’s Fire TV, which is also based on Android and features media, apps, and gaming. Both also offer an optional gaming controller.
There was no announced date for when the platform would launch, but it will surely face plenty of competition. Google will have to bank on brand popularity to get it widely accepted, and that will be on top of hoping any partners have gotten over the Google TV debacle of 2012.
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