Google on Wednesday official unveiled a new software platform for the living room during its I/O conference keynote. With Android TV, Google hopes to compete on the same playing field as established players like Amazon, Apple and Roku but with an added focus on gaming.
Android TV was first leaked in images back in April with the final product looking very similar to what we saw back then. Core search functionality is built right into the experience and is backed by Google’s knowledge graph. The platform will even offer up custom recommendations.
Control of Android TV will be possible with only a directional pad and voice input (think gamepad, smartphone, tablet). Smartwatches running Android Wear will also work to navigate the interface, we’re told. You’d obviously want a proper gamepad for gaming, but I digress.
Android TV represents the company’s third (or fourth, depending on your view) attempt at tackling the living room. The company launched Google TV in 2010 with a bevy of partners but high prices ultimately kept the initiative grounded.
Two years later, Google unveiled the Nexus Q streaming media player at its I/O conference. The device was so poorly received, however, that it never officially made it to market. Google tried yet again with Chromecast last July, a $35 dongle that allows users to stream content to their television from a tablet or smartphone. By far, this has been Google’s most successful play for the living room to date.
Android TV will be integrated into HD and 4K television sets from Sharp, Sony and TP Vision and will show up in dedicated streaming boxes from Asus and Razer later this fall alongside the next version of Android.