The first time Google developed its own TV box was when it released Google TV. This product didn’t really catch on with consumers however the search giant is not giving up on this platform. The company is reportedly going to release Android TV in the market sometime this year which is expected to compete against Apple’s Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV.
So what makes Android TV different from Google TV? According to the company it is going to be simpler and easy to use. While Google TV wanted to turn a TV into a large smartphone Android TV is purely an entertainment interface and not a computing platform. The company wrote “It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction.” It will be “cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast.” This basically means that Android TV will operate similarly to the other set top boxes out in the market today such as Roku and Fire TV just to name a few.
What Android TV will not have are smartphone features such as cameras, touch screen support, telephony, and NFC. Everything is kept to the bare minimum to support only the playing of videos, viewing of photos, listening to music, and playing games.
Android TV will support voice input and notifications. Notifications will however be used in limited cases. One other feature of this device is that it will be able to suggest content and display it on the homescreen. While users will still be able to manually search for apps and games Google wants to recommend content based on the user’s preferences.
Developers are now being encouraged to create simple TV apps that will work with the simple interface of the device. While Android is being used as the operating system the user interface is different as it consists mostly of scrolling cards that represent various content ranging from movies, apps, games, and shows. The accompanying remote control is simple to use as it only has a four way directional pad as well as an enter, home, and back buttons.
As of now there is still no information on when exactly this device is going to be released other than the fact that it is coming this year or how much it will cost.