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Android TV will benefit once Assistant is linked to live TV guide data

Philo is one of the first partners with its EPG plugged into Assistant.
Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
05.08.19 in AV
Android TV

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Remember Android TV? Google does, and not just so it can throw some unexpected advertisements on it. During the opening day of I/O 2019, Google revealed that over 80 percent of Android TV devices are already running version 7 or higher, and the company expects to have more that 60 percent on 8+ / Oreo by the end of the year -- even if it didn't discuss any upgrades on the way to software based on P or even Q. It's also counting over 1,000 streaming content providers on the platform these days, with more than 5,000 compatible apps.

Android TV

While Google Assistant has already tied in with video on-demand services, an upgrade coming soon will surface live TV guide information through assistant, so users can tune into things using voice control. During the session, Google reps pointed out Philo as an early partner that had live demos ready to show at the event. Just like so many things Google discussed at I/O, a major point of Android TV is its ties with Assistant -- even though it took until last fall to add the ability to launch a Netflix video that way -- so we'd expect most of the developments will happen there.

The other big push is for app developers to take advantage of the Channels added in its last UI refresh, that help surface content in ways similar to what we've seen from the competition like Roku and Fire TV. Without platform updates or new hardware it's hard to tell how apps themselves may change, but bringing content forward to the home screen -- where those Google-provided ads are -- is a big part of its push.

Android TV

A more concrete announcement -- and significant for developers in attendance -- Google also promised a "complete refresh" of the Play Store on Android TV. That's not limited to just a new UI either, the promise is that it will be easier "to buy and subscribe on Android TV." The way to do that is by integrating Android Pay improvements, and the ability to pay by simply typing in a PIN. The promise is that you'll be able to sign up for a service, install the app and even pay for it without having to type in a bunch of information using your remote.

Catch up on all the latest news from Google IO 2019 here!

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