Android TV has long offered the ability to control your TV from a smartphone, but that app has faded into obscurity over time. Today, though, Google is announcing support for a new remote-control option for Google TV devices that runs through an app on your phone.

Rolling out “later this year,” this new remote-control feature will be built “directly into your Android phone.” We had previously spotted a similar feature within the Google TV app.

As pictured below, this feature will allow users to control navigation of their Google TV or Android TV product from an Android phone, just like they would with a typical remote control. This is done through directional swipes that correspond to a tap of each directional button on the typical remote. The phone-based remote also includes buttons for Google Assistant, TV power and volume, home, back, and mute. It’s a considerable improvement over the legacy app.

Beyond standard controls, the app-based remote would allow users to input text into Google TV. This makes logging in considerably easier, as users have access to a full keyboard at their fingertips instead of using a D-Pad to select each character.

Google hasn’t committed to a firm timeline for this feature to arrive, only saying that it will roll out “later this year.”

This is a very overdue change, too. While the legacy Android TV Remote app still works even on Google TV devices, it hasn’t been updated in over four years and still has the same design as it did in 2014.

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