Just days after Amazon released its set-top box, Fire TV, it is being reported that Google are back in the race with their own version, called Android TV. The move comes a few years after the company first dipped their toe in the water with Google TV, a device that failed to set consumers alight, due to an overly complicated navigation system. While Google TV used Android technology, the new set-top box has been rebuilt up from the ground into a different beast, one more in common with Roku, Apple TV and the new Amazon Fire TV.
The Verge is claiming to have seen internal reports from Google that confirm not only is the device way into development, but that major app providers are already on-board. One report states that the new device will be “much less ambitious and far easier to understand” and the UI will be based on “cards” that offer a selection of TV shows, movies, apps, and games. Each category can be accessed via a four-way directional pad on the remote control that will allow users to scroll left and right through different suggestions, or up and down through different categories. Android TV will also incorporate voice input and notifications.
According to those Google documents, Android TV will be an “entertainment interface, not a computing platform. It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction.” The company aim for a user experience that is “cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast.”
There’s no release date confirmed (or indeed confirmation of the box itself) but the 2014 Google I/O developer conference would seem a likely bet. It will be interesting to see where Google take Chromecast if the new device gets the go-ahead.