At I/O today, Google announced Android TV, an Android-based UI that will be found in new televisions from Sharp, Sony, and Phillips next year. All the ways that Android TV will find its way into users’ living rooms isn’t entirely clear just yet – Will there be a dedicated set-top box? Will we be able to upgrade older TVs? – but it seems as though Google has solid plans to get into your living room.
Android TV connects users to televisions via smartphones and tablets. From there, users will be able to navigate television and movie content. Google Search is also built right into the UI, along with voice search through Google Now.
Content suggestions show up when you’re looking for something to watch, either based on stuff you’ve been watching, or based on programs that are similar. Android TV will build suggestions based on your usage patterns, which sounds pretty similar to what was announced along with Amazon’s Fire TV earlier this year.
Of course, smartphones and tablets aren’t the only way to interact with Android TV. Android Wear-powered smartwatches can be used to navigate the UI. And Android games can be played on Android TV as well, using tablets or compatible gamepads for input. Right there, it sounds like Google has found a way to undercut all the Android game consoles that launched within the last year. Should be interesting to see how Ouya and GameStick respond…
The SDK is available starting today, so developers will be able to start making TV-optimized apps for Android TV. Even better, that SDK is the same as it is on all platforms, meaning it should be relatively easy for developers to make new apps for the television. Google says that the aforementioned TV-makers have partnered to bring Android TV capable sets to market in 2015, though hopefully we’ll get more details about pricing and models, not to mention other options for accessing Android TV without having to buy a brand new television.