Google is making a huge push with Android this year, spreading its reach to your phone, your computer, your car, your wrist, and now finally, your television with the all new Android TV.
The long-rumored service finally debuted onstage at Google’s I/O conference, featuring a simple to use, clean user interface based on Google’s new Material Design, the software running on Google’s new Android L OS. Android TV seems to be the death toll for Google’s own Google TV, their previous set-top box service which launched in 2010. The new OS is much cleaner and faster, utilizing the “cards” feature from Google Now to help you find new movies and shows, with search being a central feature this time around. Finding new movies, the actors and actresses who played in them, and more has been made simple and accurate. Google is also including apps and games this time, with a game controller included, as well as the ability to use your phone or smartwatch as a remote. As with Google TV, the entire system can be accessed using only your voice as well.
Android TV is paired up with Google Cast, something similar to Chromecast, which allows you to stream whatever is on your phone straight to your television. You can launch apps, play games, or watch YouTube videos, and it all connects seamlessly as Google has built a new protocol specifically for Google Cast. An option called Backdrop even allows you to set photos to slideshow on the screen. The ability to connect your phone to your television was a very popular feature with iPhones and Apple TV, and the demo onstage looked great. With Android TV, Google hopes to put itself back into the set-top box race, as it had fallen out in the past few years, while Apple, Amazon, Roku, Microsoft, Sony, and more companies introduced or improved their existing products.
With the clean, simple Android TV, Google is putting itself back on the map, or more specifically, back in your living room, and will release on Razer and Asus streaming devices this fall, with support from all Sony and Phillip’s televisions.