Apple TV has seen a lot of competition lately, especially with the recent launch of Amazon Fire TV. However, it still holds a high spot of top sellers in the market. Google supposedly has plans to join the list of set-top box competitors later this year as rumors swirl that the software company will unveil at least one Android-based streaming media devices at its I/O developer conference today.
The report, which comes from the Wall Street Journal, claims that Google is working with multiple partners to develop a line of set-top boxes running on Android. The devices are said to support streaming of video, music, and games.
Unnamed sources who claim to have seen one of the new set-top boxes, dubbed “Android TV,” says it looks much like Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV, but supports the Android operating system. It will feature a stripped down user interface, push notifications, voice control, and more.
From the report, Google is modeling Android TV after the mobile Android operating system tech manufacturers will brand their own set-top boxes, but will use the open platform to power the system with a unifying ability to support games, music, and video.
In 2010, Google tried to compete in the living room market with Google TV, an open platform service that was expected to allow users to stream media and play games from television sets running a version of the Android operating system. However, Google TV failed to impress consumers and was quietly tucked away into the dark corners of the failed-attempts warehouse.
Back in April, The Verge reported on supposed documents from Google that described the rumored set-top box. “”Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform,” the documents read. “It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction.” It will be “cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast.” Android TV was described as containing a set of scrolling cards that display movies, television shows, apps, and games that sit on a shelf. The remote control features a four-way directional pad to browse content, and include a Enter, Home, and Back button for easy navigation.
Android TV has the real potential to disrupt Apple TV’s place in the market. One reason Android-based smartphones and tablets are doing so well is the broad range of available devices. Potential manufacturers could release top-of-the-line, quality set-top boxes with a variety of features, or rinky-dink basic models that appeal to consumers because of the low price.
If Google does release a set-top box version of Android, Apple has a lot of work to do to make its “hobby” stand out in the crowd. Hopefully, we’ll see a new generation Apple TV with incredible features sometime this year.