Is Android TV the answer to Google's living room prayers?
Google had lots of announcements at last week's I/O conference, though most seemed to have been overshadowed by Android Wear. However, that doesn't mean that the other things weren’t important. One of the items shown was Android TV, though it may lend as much confusion as it does clarity to Google's living room strategy.
There are a couple of reasons for that. First is that the company already has Google TV, which also runs Android, though the set-top boxes based on the platform have failed to gain much traction in the market. The other, and perhaps much more pressing issue, is Chromecast.
The latter is continuing to be be improved by the search giant, and also scored some time during the keynote address. And that begs the question, where is Google headed with its living room solution, and why is it not unified?
The easy answer is that Android TV will be integrated into new smart TVs, while Chromecast can be utilized to provide capability for those without a television with such modern capabilities. On the surface, this makes sense, but as more people purchase new TVs, many of which are now considered "smart", will the Chromecast fall by the wayside? And does it even make sense to be splitting time between what is essentially two different platforms?
And what does this mean for Google TV? Probably the end of the line -- the set-top box never took off, despite being a very solid platform. It just couldn't compete with Roku and Apple TV, and now Fire TV is also in the market, and proving to be a very solid competitor. I use both a Roku 3 and a Fire TV, and find both to be sufficient for all needs. I disconnected my Google TV and stuck it in a closet -- enough said.
So can Google get the market share to make Android TV what Google TV never became? That's going to depend on manufacturers adopting the platform, but the company already has a couple of them lined up. The competition for the living room is a hot one these days, with Xbox One making a strong push, Sony announcing plans to dive further in, as well as existing smart TVs and set-top boxes.
So, can Google pull this off, or is its offering too mixed up, or too late?