Google could unveil Android-powered set-top box at I/O conference todayBy Himanshu Arora
Looks like Google hasn't given up on home entertainment yet. The company is working with partners to produce Android-powered set-top boxes, and has plans to reveal at least one such device along with 'Android TV,' the TV-focused version of the mobile OS, at its Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco today.
The set-top device, which resembles products like the Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV, will let users view movies and other content, listen to music, and play games on their TVs. Users will be able to control the box using their Android devices.
The report also notes that the device will carry another company's brand, suggesting that Google might provide the software to third party hardware makers to power their own set-top boxes, just like it does in case of smartphones.
This isn't Google's first attempt to get into the living room. Back in 2010, Google TV was offered through device makers like Logitech, Sony, Vizio and Asus. The product failed miserably, with Logitech reportedly losing $100 million in operating profits.
A couple of years later, Google introduced a media streaming entertainment device dubbed the Nexus Q. But the search giant decided to shelve the project after the device received negative reviews from the limited audience it was distributed to.
The company's only TV effort that has been successful is the Chromecast, a $35 dongle that lets you stream online video and music to your TV, using smartphones, tablets and computers running the Chrome browser as remote controls.
So, why is Google hell bent to get into the TV industry? Market potential and reach. Although TV sales have been slowing, sales of devices that plug into televisions and play video and music are expected to double by 2017. Also, more than half of US households connect their TV to the Internet.
Alongside prospective TV endeavors, Google is also expected to reveal its new Android Wear smartwatches, and talk about its car efforts at today's conference. Stay tuned for confirmation and coverage of all Google I/O announcements later today.