Google Takes Another Crack at the Smart TV

During Google’s I/O keynote last week, the tech industry mammoth not only announced the new Android TV, but also made the companion app available on the Play Store, though the entertainment system wouldn’t be available until the fall. 

“This isn’t a new platform,” said David Burke, Google’s Director of Android Engineering. “We’re just giving TV the same level of attention as phones and tablets have traditionally enjoyed.”

Unlike Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV, Android TV isn’t a set-top box, but is rather a software system that can be embedded into the smart TVs currently on the market and on other devices from third-party original equipment manufacturers. 

Though Google has made an attempt or two before at entering the smart-TV market and failed, Android TV certainly sounds promising. Similar to its predecessor, Google TV, Android TV can be controlled with the users’ voices. Google search functionality is also built right into its interface, making it extremely easy for viewers to quickly pull up any content or information. For example, you could settle any arguments over who was in what movie by asking Android TV a question like, “Who played Spider-Man before Andrew Garfield?”

Android TV will also have gaming functionality, too. Android tablets can be used as controllers to play Android games broadcast to the TV set.

Though it seems strange for Google to release the remote well before the TV, it’s because Google wants designers to start using the developer kits now available for Android TV. 

Right now, it seems that the remote app only works with Android TV, but a developer may find a way to make it work with other TV sets. However, universal TV remote apps need to be programmed to the TV’s brand, which is often a complicated process. Once hooked up, these universal remote apps might not even work with the equipment, so it seems that Google has made a smart move by focusing their attention.

Though Google has a poor track record of success with smart-TVs, the Android TV may very well catch on and become the hottest new gadget. However, eager audiences will have to wait until the fall to find out whether or not Google’s learned from their past mistakes.

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