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June 25th 2014 1:54 pm

Quick Thoughts on AndroidTV

Google just announced their new AndroidTV platform at Google I/O 14. It rethinks their entire Google TV strategy and seems like an interesting and fresh take on the smart television experience.

One of the more surprising announcements was that they have a few hardware manufacturers that will be embedding AndroidTV into their 2015 line of smart televisions: Sharp and Sony will run Android TV.

First thought: Oh boy, this means they'll never get updated with new features.
Second thought: Actually, no, maybe this means they WILL be updated! Because seriously, when has an embedded OS inside an OEM's smart TV ever been updated (and enjoyable to use)? Maybe handing the keys to a third-party is actually the right thing to do?

That said, I still would rather have a separate, more powerful, and cheaper set-top box that handles my "smart television" needs. But maybe this will make smart TV's in general more enjoyable to use.

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The reason embedded smart TV OSs have been miserable to use is because they were designed by hardware manufacturers like Samsung (also see everything Samsung has ever added to Android). I can't think of a single company that went from making hardware for over a decade to also making great software. Please tell me if you can think of one.

But this is Google writing software for a TV. That will be better by default. I'm not saying it'll be fantastic, I have no idea, but it'll easily be better than previous embedded software.

I'm excited about it. As a Google TV user, I've been very displeased with how long the hardware has been neglected. I look forward to seeing what Android TV is capable of.

BTW, the real problem with embedded software on TVs is that you can never upgrade the hardware it runs on. TVs have a far longer life cycle than any set top box ever has. We'll see whether things are changing there, but I will be buying one of the set top box versions of Android TV.
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I am disappointed they still aren't supporting standards like Miracast. Its fine and all to be all controlling and proprietary, but to force people into it instead of offering both and just letting them choose? It doesn't feel right.
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