With the launch of the Fire TV, pundits and enthusiasts have begun wondering just how Google is going to respond. It’s no secret that a new Google TV box is in the works that will be drastically different from the old Google TV platform. Now, it appears as though The Verge has obtained some documents that outline at least the operating system it will be running. Thus, say hello to the newly leaked Android TV.
What is Android TV all about?
The first difference that should be immediately noticed is how the new Android TV looks nothing like the old Google TV. Google TV essentially turned your television into a giant tablet and acted as such. The home screens were similar, accessing apps was a similar process, and overall it was just a much larger version of the Android we all know and love. Android TV is none of these things.
Access to content should be simple and magical. - leaked Google document
As you can see, the interface is much closer to the likes of Apple TV and the Roku with a large, tiled, and more simplistic layout that looks reminiscent to what you would see on the Ouya or even the Xbox 360 version of Netflix. You surf up and down through tiled categories and then left and right to surf each category. It’s set up in a much more simplistic way that makes more sense on a television.
According to the documents obtained by The Verge, Google writes that accessing content on Android TV should be, “simple and magical.” Considering that very few -if any- people complain about navigation on competitor boxes, it makes sense that Android TV would follow those same basic interface principles. It was even noted that the search would be secondary to the main interface which is generally something you don’t see Google do.
It should never take more than three clicks or gestures to go from the homescreen to enjoying content. - leaked Google document
Along with this drastically different interface, The Verge explains how Google plans on creating a consistent and engaging experience. Some features reported will be the ability to continue watching content you had started watching on your smartphone or tablet as well as a prediction system to help recommend more content for you to consume. There were also some details about gaming on Android TV which, if true, will put Fire TV in the hot seat.
In addition to detailing the new and improved Android TV interface, the documents obtained by The Verge outlines some application strategies as well. As the documents state, Google is currently getting app developers to develop apps specifically for the new Android TV so there will be some titles prepared at launch. Aside from that, there has been some postulation as to whether app devs will have to develop separately for Android TV and Chromecast since the two have wildly different interfaces. However, until the platform is launched and released, any speculation on that is just that: speculation.
Now for the bad news. All of this information came from leaked documentation. So there is at least the possibility that the information could be dramatically changed before launch or entirely false. That means that until Google provides more details or until they launch the product, it’s probably a good idea to keep all of this in perspective and try not to get too excited.
Okay, it’s okay to get a little excited. If this is how Android TV ends up, would you buy it over the Fire TV?