Google Rumored to Be Planning Android TV

 
 
By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2014-04-07
 
 
 

Android TV could be coming soon from Google.

That's the basis of a widely circulating report from The Verge, which claims to have obtained documents that describe Google's upcoming plans to launch its second major attempt to get into the televisions of consumers with its own content. Back in 2010, Google had tried an earlier effort with what it called Google TV at the time, but it didn't gain traction with consumers.

"According to documents obtained exclusively by The Verge, Google is about to launch a renewed assault on your television set called Android TV," the report states. "Major video app providers are building for the platform right now. Android TV may sound like a semantic difference—after all, Google TV was based on Android—but it's something very different.  Android TV is no longer a crazy attempt to turn your TV into a bigger, more powerful smartphone."

In one of the documents, reported The Verge, Google states that "Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform. It's all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction."

The new service will be "cinematic, fun, fluid and fast," according to the document.

The plans for Android TV mean that it will "look and feel a lot more like the rest of the set-top boxes on the market, including Apple TV, Amazon's Fire TV and Roku," according to the report. "Google's new vision for Android TV is less ambitious and easier to understand. The company is calling for developers to build extremely simple TV apps for an extremely simple set-top-box interface. While Android still lives under the hood, the interface will consist of a set of scrolling 'cards' that represent movies, shows, apps, and games sitting on a shelf."

Google, as expected, declined to comment about the report when asked about it via email by eWEEK. "We don't comment on rumors or speculation," a Google spokesperson wrote back.

The Verge report even described the upcoming Android TV service as "remarkably similar to Amazon's just-released Android-based Fire TV," which was unveiled April 2.

The Android TV device will recommend content to viewers when it is turned on, the report states. "While you can dive through a collection of apps and games if you want, the goal isn't to have a user select an app like Hulu and then browse through things to watch," the story said. "Google wants to proactively recommend things to you—including the ability to resume content you started watching on a phone or tablet—as soon as you turn your TV on."

The original Google TV product was announced with excitement by Google back in May 2010, when it was touted as a way to merge the TV-watching experience with surfing the Web, according to an eWEEK report at the time.

Google TV was unveiled at the Google I/O developer conference in 2010 and was based on the Android 2.1 mobile operating system.  It was designed to let users enjoy the content consumption they get from watching big-screen TVs, along with the searching and information-gathering experience they know from computers and Web applications. The idea was that people could turn on their TVs and navigate between all their channels and their favorite Websites and Web applications, including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Picasa, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter.

About 18 months later, Logitech, one of Google's hardware partners for the Google TV platform, dropped its Logitech Revue product—Logitech's Google TV device—after losing more than $100 million on the product, according to an eWEEK report. The Revue was priced at $300 and featured Android software and an Intel Atom chip.

The plan had been to sell hundreds of thousands of the boxes over the Christmas season, but it didn't pan out that way. The Revue failed to gain traction as reviewers and early adopters found the system difficult to set up and the Google TV service itself too buggy. Logitech discounted the Revue to $99 in July 2011 after the company reported that returns of the box were greater than sales.

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