Despite having been around for a while now, Google TV has never taken off in a big way, and some speculated that Chromecast would serve to replace it. Google’s Sundar Pichai put such concerns to rest in July, however, saying that Google TV would live on as a “full-fledged Android for TV.” While the company’s intentions with its television platform haven’t changed, word has surfaced that the Internet giant has dropped the Google TV brand, replacing it with a rebranding of “Android TV.”
This information comes from GigaOm, which says it received confirmation from a yet-unspecified consumer electronics manufacturer’s executive. Google hasn’t publicly made any statements about dropping the brand, but one source says that it is now being referred to as “Android TV” behind the scenes, though that may not be the brand that is presented on new devices. It is possible, instead, that such a term is a placeholder of sorts while Google decides what to call its television platform — and that there could end up being more than one branding, depending on implementation.
Such confirmation of an upcoming brand change isn’t surprising. In addition to Google TV’s bumps and struggles, it has been noted that use of the term itself has been dropped in recent times. Many manufacturers and developers have taken to using the phrase “latest Google services for TV,” including Sony alongside its relatively new BRAVIA stick. The term “Android TV” has also cropped up on occasion, including a developer conference in Korea called “Android TV Developer Day.”
With a rebranding of Google TV comes a chance to overhaul what the service offers, creating a new experience for both manufacturers and consumers that better positions the platform for a market that has never been terribly welcoming of Google’s television-based efforts. Chromecast, for example, has seen extensive success, and can prove a solid foundation upon which Google both bases its “Android TV” efforts and promotes it to the buying public.
By utilizing the latest versions of Android, both developers and manufacturers will also be better positioned to offer and support Google’s platform, opening it up to better app development for consumer televisions, as well as possibly increasing the ability for manufacturers to offer more customized varieties of the platform for its specific audiences. It is anticipated that Android KitKat will be made available later this month, and with it we could see a rebranding of Google TV become official at the same time.
This follows sources who spoke to the Wall Street Journal earlier this month about a set-top box Amazon reportedly has in the works, an effort of its own to better position its streaming Prime instant video service and library of digital videos in consumers’ living rooms. It is possible Google is aiming for something similar, offering Android TV through an inexpensive device (a la Chromecast) that works as the middle man betwixt its various services, the content it has available and its Android platform.