Google launched Android TV in 2014, but it took a few years for the platform to really establish itself as a serious player. Now “Android TV” is on the way out as Google TV is taking the reins.
Over the course of nearly a decade, “Android TV” has appeared on TVs and streamers from brands like TCL, Sony, Hisense, Nvidia and more. As of 2020, Android TV was on seven of the top 10 global TV brands, and things have only grown from there.
But later that year, Google threw a curveball into the platform’s growth. Google TV, which makes its debut on Chromecast with the Google TV streaming dongle, is based on the same underlying platform of “Android TV OS” which has resulted in two experiences living side by side. Google TV, the pre-recommended consumer experience that Google was all in on, and Android TV, the experience that was years in the making and now had a confusing future. To this day, it is still easy to confuse Android TV and Google TV, as in many places they are sold side by side without any clear explanation of what is different.
Initially, Google said that this transition period would only last for two years. Google TV will begin rolling out to TV manufacturers in 2021, only to see it be the only consumer experience in 2022. That goal flew with some manufacturers still using Android TV, but there was a clear shift with reservations left.
First, almost all of Google’s major smart TV partners have moved to Google TV. Sony was the first, TCL joined later in 2021, and Hisense in 2022. In the US, the change has been very evident, as there are now far more Google TVs listed on the Best Buy site than Android TVs, which mainly consist of from older generations at this time. And some resistors, such as Philips, have also made this move.
The same is slowly happening with other form factors.
Android TV-based projectors have become relatively common in recent years, and at CES 2023 Leica debuted the first projector to ship with Google TV. While new models without Google TV are still appearing, including XGIMI’s Mogo Pro 2, the transition seems to have begun there as well.
And with streaming boxes and dongles, we’re also seeing Google TV become a bit more prominent. T-Mobile’s TVision Hub shipped with Google TV, and Mecool also released more Google TV models in the KD3 streaming stick and KM7 Plus box, which launched just this month. Realme, Skyworth and other brands have also adopted the platform.
Now, that doesn’t mean the Android TV interface is completely dead. The experience will continue to live through devices designed for pay TV operators and also through other regions of the globe. Just since the beginning of 2023, there have been several Android TV launches in Africa, China and Taiwan. What do these three regions have in common? Google TV is not yet officially available in any of them.
At this point, however, the writing is very much on the wall. “Android TV” is dying and Google TV is taking over.
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