The Smart TV landscape is currently ripe with competition, making it a tough market for the often-neglected Android TV. This, despite Google reporting optimistic numbers in 2018. Some reports suggest it soon becoming a relic, while analysts expect a resurgence into market dominance by 2025. All the noise aside, however, Google is yet to give up on the endeavor, and for good reason. In a way, the resurgence isn’t an impossibility, at least given the innovation in store for the new year.
So, let’s get into some recent developments and trends affecting the Android TV platform:
1. Reduced Costs & Time to Market
From a user experience perspective, the Android TV beats out some of its traditional competitors by being more personal. In comparison to last year, the price to launch an Android TV box is down by about 60% for an OEM. These optimizations have enabled – in turn – an improvement in time-to-market and the overall costs involved. Today, receiving certification is a matter of 4-6 weeks, while cast integration is a lot faster. The minor advantages here snowballs into large revenue streams for device manufacturers yet to enter or nee to the market.
2. The Google Assistant Armament
Google Assistant is a powerful asset on smart devices – a popular, open platform that allows developers to add voice functionalities to different android-based applications. It’s not merely a voice control means to an end. In fact, it commands several practical uses for an enhanced user experience. Android TV devices are expected to release with far-field microphones in the near future, enabling access to the assistant without a remote, even. It’s not a stretch to liken future Android TVs to Google Home.
As an additional feature, there are also possibilities for Google Assistant to be used for OEMs, reducing the amount of time spent giving support – technical queries mostly, without the wait time associated with dialing into call centers.
3. Project Treble
The upcoming devices are expected to launch with Android Pie, making them Treble compliant. For users, it ensures their access to the greatest and latest features android has to offer. This is important given how easy development becomes with Treble, allowing engineers to fast track progress.
Changes are underway, and improvements are being worked upon on an almost daily basis. Interestingly, Android TV appears to be trending towards enterprise capabilities, in addition to remaining within range of the casual customer.
From a developer’s perspective, a classic example is in our own effort to leverage the robust features of the Android TV Input Framework (ATIF) for the development and integration of several Android TV services. Simply put, by utilizing and understanding the TIF stack, third-party app developers would be able to create custom TV inputs and applications with relative ease – an open-source contribution we are particularly proud of; having said that, it’s important to add that 2019 is a year to look forward in this space.
For more reading on the example used, do take a look at the Android TV Case Study in its entirety here.
About the Author
Ravindra Kulkarni heads the Platform Engineering Practice at GlobalEdge. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.