It’s been a fair amount of time since we last heard talk of “Android TV.” Back in early April we saw things pick up steam after receiving a few leaked screenshots from the upcoming OS, another effort by Google to bring Android to the living room. There weren’t very many details, but today the folks at GigaOM have obtained new information on Google’s Android TV project, giving us a better idea of what to expect when it’s finally unveiled at this year’s Google I/O 2014.
Once again, Google is banking on creating a platform for television manufacturers to bake into their wares, just like Google’s first effort with Google TV. But aside from pay-TV services and applications, Android TV’s killer feature will be gaming — something the Chromecast simply isn’t equipped for.
Google is calling the user interface “Pano,” and it allows users to scroll horizontally through movies and shows which are linked to apps and services. This means instead of opening an app like Netflix for something to watch, the content from all these apps is already displayed as soon as you turn on the TV. A recently leaked changelog for Android 4.4.3 revealed a ton of references to Pano, so it’s entirely possible we’ll see the new firmware update launch during I/O as well.
There’s a lot of questions that pop up with Android TV and one is why Google is even bothering creating another platform, one that in some ways competes with Chromecast. Apparently, Google wants to cover all their bases, and by offering a more robust platform — one that also includes video gaming — television manufacturers will have a product they can rally behind. But it might be a tough sell considering all those that were burned by Google’s initial Google TV offering.
In the end, exactly who is willing to give Google another chance will likely be revealed at Google I/O, and we’re excited to see Pichai and the Android team put a little heat on Amazon and their newly launched Fire TV.