Google finally turns Android phones into TV remote controls

Typing your next search will be much less of a pain.


Google revamped its TV interface last year by giving its Android TV OS a more content-focused overlay that's much easier to navigate with a remote control. At its I/O developer conference today, the company announced that it's bringing built-in remote control tools to Android phones, adding a feature to its service that Apple's TVs and iPhones have offered for years.

Based on renders that the company shared, the remote control interface looks similar to Apple's, too. There appears to be a touchpad area that takes up most of the screen and lets you navigate your TV like a cursor. Below that sit keys for going back a page, to the home screen or launching the Assistant, with volume controls occupying the bottom row. At the top right is a power button and settings menu.

Letting you use your Android phone as a remote offers several benefits. When your physical remote control runs out of battery, for instance, or if you've misplaced it, your smartphone is a handy stand-in. It's also much easier to use your phone to type in a movie title you're looking for when you don't want to or can't use voice dictation. What's more, entering the passwords for your various accounts is a whole lot less painful.

Google said this feature is rolling out later this year and will work with Android TV OS (which includes devices running Google TV).