Google is launching a new television platform called Android TV, according to documents obtained by The Verge.
Unlike the company's earlier Google TV endeavors, Android TV is described as sharing more in common with set boxes like Apple TV and Amazon's Fire TV. Google is currently asking developers to create TV apps for a simple set-top-box interface, said to be a set of scrolling "cards" that represent movies, television shows and games. According to The Verge, users will be able to resume content on their television, even if first started on a mobile device or tablet.
The company first released Google TV, its smart TV platform, in 2010. We've contacted Google for information on how Android TV will affect this previous platform.
Owners of the Android TV will use a remote control featuring a four-way directional pad to scroll through cards and view recommendations. Likewise, Android TV will include voice input support and notifications; However, simplicity is still the focus. A Google document states access to content should never take more than three clicks or gestures from the homescreen to the new content.
"Android TV is Android, optimized for the living room consumption experience on a TV screen," a statement from the company reads. Documents suggest Google also plans to strip away features like cameras, touchscreen support and near-field communication in order to help developers follow through on Google's philosophy of simplicity.
The company is currently courting a number of app developers to create both apps and games for the new platform. Screenshots obtained by The Verge show apps including Google's own Play Movies, YouTube and Google Hangouts, as well as third party apps like Vevo, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and games. Google also plans on delivering a solid search foundation for the platform, allowing for both universal searching as well as searches within specific apps.
Google was rumoured to be developng an Android-powered gaming console earlier this year. The company is also developing an internet-connected wristwatch and is aiming to release one of the devices this fall, according to sources close to the Wall Street Journal. The sources frame the devices as anticipatory measures designed to compete with Apple, which Google apparently believes may release a console component with its next Apple TV as well as a watch.
The rumored platform follows the unveiling of the Amazon Fire TV, designed to outpace competitors like the Apple TV and Roku in performance: The 0.7-inch-thick box features a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Krait 300 CPU, 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage, as well as a Qualcomm Adreno 320 GPU, along with a dual-band wireless radio and two antennas for 1080p streaming over 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi.