Google's Not Giving Up the Living Room: 'Android TV' Could Replace Google TV
Google TV, Google’s Android-powered foray into the world of TV set-top boxes, hasn’t quite been the rousing success the company hoped for. But Google isn’t ready to concede the space just yet. A report from GigaOM suggests Google may continue to push for Android’s adoption in the living room, retiring the “Google TV” branding while creating a new brand for the effort. A source for GigaOM says Google will simply call it “Android TV.”
Since the launch of the first Google TV box — the Logitech Revue — back in 2010, the large-screen flavor of Google’s popular Android operating system has struggled to find footing. Google TV is actually deep into its second generation of hardware now, yet it’s hard to point to a particular set-top box model that’s seen any kind of success. The OS is now showing up on smart TVs and other accessories, but without the “Google TV” name attached to them — a sign that the brand may actually be doing more harm than good.
The Android brand is still strong, though, and a change to “Android TV” might also do a better job at communicating what the boxes and smart TVs are capable of. It might “click” with more people that the same OS that powers their smartphone is the one powering their set-top box or TV, and if they’re already Android smartphone owners, it could mean the difference between picking up something that is “Android TV-powered” or going with a Roku or Apple TV.
It’ll be interesting to see how Google’s approach changes if it puts Android at the forefront of its TV effort. Current Google TV boxes try to integrate the streaming, Roku-like experience with the ability to display live TV and programming guides. While the Xbox One is another device moving in that direction, I’m not sure that the market is begging for that kind of functionality, and with the wide array of cable and satellite providers to support, the better user experience may lie in simply doing one or two things really well instead of trying to do it all.
If Google puts its energy into streaming media and living room apps, I think its TV rebirth has a fighting chance. Especially if it decides to push its way into the gaming world with Android TV.
We’ll update if we hear more about Google’s future TV plans.
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