Its safe to say that Google TV wasn’t a hit, even though Google chairman Eric Schmidt had predicted that it would ship on majority of new televisions in 2012. It didn’t. Instead, products like Roku or the Apple TV continued to extend their dominance. For quite a while now we have been hearing that Google is working on something new to better compete in this market. Recent the Android TV moniker was dropped a few times. Now certain documents and screenshots have leaked online which give a glimpse of Android TV.
Received by folks at The Verge, and assuming they’re correct, it appears that Google’s next TV offering might be a lot similar to other set-top boxes, such as the Apple TV and Roku. In fact, it seems to be quite similar to the recently announced Amazon Fire TV. The $99 set-top box runs a highly forked version of Android and boasts over 130 gaming titles.
One document says that “Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform.” This clearly shows that the company isn’t sticking with the same ideology that held Google TV back. Android TV will be about letting users enjoy content with “the least amount of friction,” designed to be “cinematic, fun, fluid and fast.”
Screenshots reveal that the user interface will consist of scrolling cards which will present apps, movies, tv shows and games on a shelf. A remote control with four-way directional pad will be used for control, it will also have Enter, Home and Back buttons. Optional game controllers will also be available for Android TV, pitting it straight up against the Amazon Fire TV. Voice input and notifications will be supported but apparently Google encourages developers to limit notification use to extreme cases.
The leaked documents suggest that Google is tapping app developers to develop games and apps for the Android TV. Screenshots not only show Google’s own Play Movies, Hangouts and YouTube apps for the TV, but apps of popular services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and Vevo. Rumor has it that Google will build the Android TV set-top box itself, which would pit it against partners like LG. The Korean company is building smart TVs based on webOS.
When contacted by the scribe, Google declined to comment on this report. It is unclear if and when Android TV is destined to be released.