Google is reported to be planning to launch its new Android TV platform at its annual technology conference in San Francisco. Android TV will apparently be a platform that manufacturers can use to offer streaming media and games, rather than a device. So will Android TV finally succeed where Google TV dramatically failed?
Android TV is the latest attempt by Google to crack the television screen, following its low cost Chromecast media streaming stick, its Nexus Q media player, and the original Google TV product, which was also based on a version of Android.
A new user interface, called Pano, is expected to present recommendations for movies, programmes, apps and games through a series of tiles that link through to the apps of the relevant publishers.
It sounds similar to the Amazon Fire TV, which is addressing a market crowded with small boxes from Apple, Roku and others.
Chromecast has proved relatively popular with early adopters as a way of ‘casting’ online media from other handheld devices to the television screen, but it is clunky compared to having the capability built into the display.
So will Android TV succeed in winning over major manufacturers that have been struggling to establish their own smart television platforms?
The goal is clearly to create a platform for television comparable to that which Android has created in the mobile market, which it now dominates.
The problem is that many manufacturers and media companies are sceptical if not scared of the potential of Google succeeding in this space.
While there may be benefits in an Android ecosystem that could work across multiple screens – phone, tablet and television – there is limited opportunity for manufacturers to differentiate their products.
Meanwhile Google, although its business is based on advertising and is building up incredible knowledge of individual user behaviour, is still fundamentally a technology company that largely fails to understand media and entertainment.
The Google I/O technology conference takes place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on 25-26 June 2014.