Google to establish minimum hardware requirements for Android TV
New Android TVs might get a little better in the upcoming year
JAN 10, 2019
10:59 AM EST
A Google executive used CES 2019 to reveal that the company is looking to impose minimum hardware requirements for Android TVs so low-end sets run optimally. Android TV has been around since June 2014, when the platform launched alongside Google’s failed Nexus Player. The platform has since grown beyond set-top boxes, debuting on smart televisions as well. While it’s handy to have Android TV built into your television, some manufacturers can cut corners by making sets with low-end hardware that struggles to run the Android-based operating system.
According to an interview between Cord Cutter News and Google’s senior director of product management Shalini Govil-Pai, the Mountain View search giant is looking to solve this problem by imposing minimum hardware requirements on television manufacturers, so users can enjoy a consistent Android TV experience across different television sets. Govil-Pai made it clear that Google isn’t abandoning low-end boxes, but is instead trying to make them better for consumers. She further added that Google has a team of employees working on bringing more apps to the Android TV platform.
The central issue here is that Google is competing for market presence with Amazon’s Fire TV OS and Roku OS. As a result, Mountain View might encounter trouble selling Android TV-enabled televisions if low-end manufacturers decide it’s cheaper to use Roku or Amazon’s platforms instead. It would be a particularly strong blow to Google if Fire TV OS took over, especially since Google and Amazon are battling it out to see which company can take control of the ambient computing space in the home.
It’s worth noting that Google and television manufacturers have had a poor history of rolling out Android TV updates. The company has already sent out an Android Pie-based TV dongle to developers and shown off products with the fresh OS, but most Android TV owners may never get the update. The lack of updates is frustrating, since a lot of newer features that integrate Google Assistant are missing from older builds of Android.