CES is a big show for televisions as particularly crystalized this year by Apple’s move to bring iTunes and AirPlay 2 to third-party sets. On the Google front, there were a handful of new Android TV products with the OS in recent months picking up adoption. Google is now planning to improve the experience by enforcing minimum hardware requirements.
Speaking to Cord Cutters News, Android TV head Shalini Govil-Pai revealed some interesting news about where the platform is headed in the future. The Senior Director of Product Management for Android TV discussed plans to create minimum hardware requirements as a mean to address how low-end devices have sub-par performance.
Aimed at enforcing performance standards, this should aid in creating a good baseline experience for all buyers of TVs or set-top boxes that run Android. In the case of the latter category, this comes as many cable operators are increasingly turning to Android TV to power the software experience thanks to customization options. Today’s interview did not specify what does requirements might entail; be it certain processors or meeting set benchmarks. It’s also not known when they’ll come into effect.
According to the Android TV head, Google acknowledges the importance of the low-end market and has no plans to abandon it. In the context of Android TV increasing in popularity, these growing pains somewhat reflect Android’s maturation from an OS that runs on flagship phones to very affordable devices with Android Go.
It’s not clear when Google plans to introduce these standards, and what route it will pursue. For example, Google could be overt with the new requirements — like Android Go — and make it apparent that a device is certified. Or the company could turn to a more Chrome OS model where all Chromebooks deliver a good experience. It’s unclear if the upcoming Android TV guidelines will be published or just kept to manufacturing partners.
Meanwhile, Google is taking advantage of Android TV’s newly found critical mass to get more apps on the platform. As is, available applications are focussed on streaming with most TVs and set-top boxes advertised as purely for content consumption. Despite some effort in the past, games are not a big reason people buy Android TV.
According to Govil-Pai, Google has established a team to attract developers of popular apps that might have ignored Android TV due to lower market share.
Android TV at CES 2019:
- Philips brings Android TV models to US w/ microphones built in for Google Assistant, starting at $349
- Google Assistant and Android TV-powered JBL Link Bar officially shipping this spring
- Hisense shows off new two-panel ULED TVs at CES w/ Android TV and Roku platforms