Google has long wanted to take over the living room experience with out much success. Yesterday, the search engine launched “Android TV” at Google I/O 2014 event. “We are just giving TV the same attention that smartphones and tablets have got” Google said.
Google’s battle for TV hasn’t just began. Google launched Google TV at 2010 Google I/O at which its battle to capture over 4 billion TV viewers worldwide started. Google wanted to merge web and TV without compromising on either the web experience or the video experience. But it wasn’t that successful.
Google didn’t have so many TV partners on the platform except Sony which announced in May 2010 that it would be releasing its Google-enabled Sony Internet TV product. In May 2011 at Google IO, Google announced that Google TV devices would be updated to Android 3.1 Honeycomb, the OS that was optimized for tablets. As of 2013 January, Google TV version 3 began to be rolled out to most Google TV devices adding Voice based TV and web search for models that included a microphone. New reports in 2013 October 10 suggested that Google would be re-branding Google TV to Android TV and that approximately one million Google TV devices were in use. And now yesterday, Google launched Android TV with the latest Android version, 4.4.
As you can tell, Google’s long walk to winning the TV battle has been daunting, but may soon come to an end.
The Chromecast, that little fancy USB black device that lets users stream YouTube, Netflix and other web video content into their TVs could have been Google’s turn-around in winning over the living room. The $35 device went on to be the number one selling electronics device on Amazon , outselling even Amazon’s new Kindle models, as well as its direct competitors from Apple and Roku.
“We’ve sold millions of devices, and consistently outsell all other streaming devices combined at retail locations like Best Buy.” Google’s Rishi Chandra said. Usage has increased 40% since 2013. and most of YouTube’s TV-based views come from Chromecast, Rishi revealed. Besides just YouTube and Netflix, more Chromecast supported Apps have been added that can be viewed at chromecast.com/apps.
Chromecast’s ease of use compared to earlier Google TV remote control devices and interfaces could have contributed to its success. Chromecast will be integrated into Android TV giving more TV vendors and app developers the flexibility to use the technology in their TV sets and Apps. Android TV will include a “TV-centric” play store with Apps and games specifically designed and customized for the TV experience.
Android TV will run on a tonne of different processors Google said.
However, don’t expect screens with Android TV until about 2015. The entire 4K smart TV ranges from Sony, Sharp, TP vision, and Philips will run on Android TV. Razer and Asus are also making streaming boxes that will Android TV.