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No, Android TV is not dead

You might be tempted, having watched Tuesday's Google I/O keynote, to declare Android TV a dead operating system. After all, it's quite a long time since it's seen any new hardware for which we can be excited, and the scant bit of Android TV news to come out Shoreline was decidedly developer focused.

But, no. Android TV is not dead. It's just that the operative words this week have been "Coming later this year."

Consider:

  • A revamped Google Play Store on Android TV. Coming later this year.
  • The ability to use your voice and Google Assistant to easily switch over to live TV. Coming later this year.
  • PIN logins for easier access to your favorite apps, and for easier payment. Also coming later this year.

And that's just the stuff we know about and was discussed at Google I/O.

Log in with a PIN code in Android TV ... later this year.

Log in with a PIN code in Android TV ... later this year.

Plus Google was still promoting the fact that there are more than 5,000 apps for Android TV, and 1,000 streaming content providers. Those are vanity numbers, to be sure. There certainly are not 5,000 apps you just have to download, and 1,000 streams you just have to watch. But neither is the ecosystem a barren wasteland, even if it's still being shunned by the likes of DirecTV Now, and stuck with a hamstrung app from Hulu.

The dearth of new hardware – or at least new hardware worth talking about, given the decided thud produced by the last couple of U.S. releases from Xiaomi — is annoying, for sure. There are only so many ways we can say that NVIDIA Shield (opens in new tab) remains the best Android TV box you can buy, even years after its release. (And it's certainly not a perfect device, even as powerful as it is.)

But more certainly is coming later this year. At the very least, updated home screens and Play Stores and features. More likely something a little more definitive, in the form of a standalone event, or perhaps part of the fall bonanza that has become an annual thing for Google. New hardware isn't certain until it is, but I certainly wouldn't bet against it.

Was Android TV news slow this developer conference? Yeah, a little. That's not to diminish what was announced, though. Discovering apps is important. Being able to more easily sign into apps — and to reduce payment friction — is hugely important, if not all that sexy a headline.

But, no. Android TV is not dead. Not by a long shot.

6 Comments
  • I look forward to seeing some fresh new hardware. The shield is great, and it's longevity has surprised me but it's always been a bit overengineered for my needs. That Roku style box and remote within the Android ecosystem is something I've waited quite some time for!
  • There are a lot of them on amazon etc. And a lot of tvs come with android tv built in lately.
  • At least they had time to start showing ads on your home screen before they abandoned it.
  • But it is stated here that it's not been abandoned
  • Phil - Android TV is far from dead and it is just the opposite. Most of the consumer media has been completely unaware. Android TV announcements and news tend to be at broadcast industry events like NAB and IBC
    That's because Google hasn't been busy attacking the consumer OTT box market, it's been busy taking over the far larger Pay-TV set top box market. Google has 140 pay tv operator commitments for Android TV set top box deployments. Including the biggest Pay-TV company in the world, ATT / DirecTV. This is up from only 100 at end of December. Android TV has become the new common platform for the Pay-TV industry. Android TV is doing very well.
  • It's encouraging that the Pay-Tv ecosystem is digging Android tv, but consumer market is moving away from traditional Pay-tv. I think most folks are waiting for hardware that is untethered from pay-tv.