Google launched Android TV in 2014, but it took several years for the platform to really establish itself as a serious player. Now “Android TV” is about to disappear as Google TV takes over.
For nearly a decade now, “Android TV” has appeared on TVs and streamers from brands like TCL, Sony, Hisense, Nvidia and more. In 2020, Android TV was on seven of the top 10 global TV brands, and things only went up from there.
But later that same year, Google kicked a curveball in the platform’s growth. Google TV, which debuts on the Chromecast with the Google TV streaming dongle, is based on the same underlying platform of “Android TV OS”, which has led to two side-by-side living experiences. Google TV, the cutting-edge customer experience that Google was all about, and Android TV, the experience that had been building for years and now had a confusing future. Till date, it is still easy to confuse Android TV and Google TV because in many places they are sold side by side without any clear explanation as to what is different.
Originally, Google said this transition period would only last two years. Google TV would start rolling out to TV makers in 2021, only to see it be the only consumer experience from 2022. That goal has slipped away with some makers still using Android TV, but there’s been a clear shift. in progress with the remaining recalcitrants.
First and foremost, almost all of Google’s major smart TV partners have moved to Google TV. Sony was the first, with TCL joining 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 website than TVs. Android, which mostly consist of older generations at this point. And some recalcitrants, like Philips, have also taken the plunge.
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 launched the first projector to ship with Google TV. While new models without Google TV are still on the way, including XGIMI’s Mogo Pro 2, the transition appears to have started there as well.
And with streaming boxes and dongles, we also see Google TV becoming a bit more important. T-Mobile’s TVision hub comes with Google TV, and Mecool also released more Google TV models in the KD3 streaming stick and KM7 Plus box, which launched this month. Realme, Skyworth and other brands have also adopted the platform.
Now, that’s not to say the Android TV interface is completely dead. The experiment will continue through devices designed for pay-TV operators and also in other regions of the globe. 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 isn’t officially available in any of them yet.
At this point, however, the writing is fine on the wall. “Android TV” is on its way out, with Google TV taking over.
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