Google isn’t going to let Amazon’s Fire TV take the lead so quickly, which is why the tech giant has announced plans to release the Google Android TV sooner than expected. While Google TV was released a few years ago, it’s struggled to carve out a niche with the online TV market. In fact, it’s been such a challenge that it seems Google might be ditching it all together. The Verge allegedly got exclusive information that Google will try to overtake Amazon with Android TV, which is “an entertainment interface, not a computing platform,” according to Google.
Unlike Google TV, which is based on the Android platform but a completely different approach, it doesn’t have the intention of turning your TV into a massive smartphone. Instead, “It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction,” Google wrote in a leaked internal document. Described as “fast, fun, cinematic and fluid,” is it the right answer to Amazon Fire TV, or will it fall flat like Google TV? Another issue to consider is who’s going to be building these Android TVs, since if Google does it there will be some fierce inter-company competition with the hardware.
Google also writes that Android TV is a totally different beast than Chromecast (which is currently available in the UK), and works by streaming content to the TV similar to hooking up Hulu to your LCD screen. Some early screen shots of Android TV has already been unveiled, but it’s too soon to tell much. Those who have explored the sneak peeks have compared it to Apple TV and even the Fire TV itself, which means it has similar qualities to the many other set-top boxes on the market.
There’s also no final word on when exactly it will launch, but the internal documents retrieved by The Verge simply say “about to launch.” The 2010 Google TV software was riddled by slow responses, hard to operate interfaces and overall complexity. Since that failed launch, Android TV rumors have been swirling, but no concrete evidence turned up until October 2013. According to The Verge, “The company is calling for developers to build extremely simple TV apps for an extremely simple set-top-box interface.”
Fool me twice?
Those who were already burned by Google TV may or may not give the company another shot. While it would certainly be convenient to watch your favorite home buying shows, dramas or comedies on a Google device, Amazon has already lured a number of Google fans to their side. Rebranding is certainly in order, but it may be too late for Google.