The Verge just revealed that Google may venture into set-top TV devices with the as-yet-unannounced Android TV. Quoting internal documents, the report indicates Google is planning a device like Roku or the new Amazon Fire TV to put Android in your living room.
Judging by the documents The Verge quotes (which so far have not been confirmed by Google), this isn't just a rehash of Google TV, an attempt to revolutionise television that fizzled without ever going anywhere back in 2012. Where Google TV hoped to turn your television into a powerful computing device, Android TV seems to head in the opposite direction, focusing on a simple, quick-navigating interface geared exclusively toward suggesting content. The Verge's screencaps show a scrolling card layout, and the report indicates that selections may be made either by a handheld remote or by voice.
Instead of entering individual apps like Netflix or Hulu to search through each service's offerings, Android TV will actively suggest content right on the homescreen. As The Verge explains:
"Access to content should be simple and magical," reads one Google document, which adds that it should never take more than three clicks or gestures to go from the homescreen to enjoying a new piece of content. Even search appears to be secondary to intuitively understanding what you want and delivering it as soon as possible, though search will be still be one of Android TV's primary tools. In addition to universal search, pressing the Search button on the controller will let you search from within individual apps as well.
From the screenshots, it seems the app list will include YouTube, Vevo, Hulu, Netflix, and Pandora, among others. It's unclear how this plan, if it's true, will affect Chromecast, Google's other foray into streaming TV. We've reached out to Google for comment, and will update if we get a response.
Image from The Verge