Google's rumored Android TV platform will appear at Google I/O in June, according to GigaOm. Sources close to the search giant's plans claim the new initiative will be similar to Google TV in that it'll be a platform manufacturers can use in TVs and set-top boxes at their own accord. Google apparently won't be creating its own hardware, instead focusing on the Chromecast, which is among the cheapest streaming solutions out there.
The platform will be more about other online media services while introducing an Android gaming element to the equation. We saw a possible glimpse at what the layout might look like; it's not much different from other set-top box solutions out there, it'll just be more widely accessible since other manufacturers can easily include it in their hardware. GigaOm says the platform will focus heavily on simplicity, and built on a design language known internally inside Google as Pano.
The idea behind Pano is that apps can surface individual pieces of content right on the home screen in a card-like fashion so that users can browse movies, TV shows and other types of media as soon as they turn on an Android TV, GigaOm wrote. Content will be presented in a series of cards that can be browsed horizontally, and each movie or TV show episode has deep links into a publisher's apps, giving users the option to start playback right away. That's different from the traditional smart TV experience, where users generally have to launch an app from a publisher, and then browse that app's catalog before they can play a title.
Much of the UI will reportedly be similar to Amazon's Fire TV, GigaOm said, with a heavy focus on Android gaming. Simple set-top boxes have quickly evolved away from just being vehicles for movies and TV; Amazon was the first to really emphasize this aspect, and it's no surprise to see others following suite. We've also heard Apple, which has an event planned for June 2, would also introduce a gaming element to its Apple TV.
Apparently Google will offering the Android TV platform in addition to Chromecast, giving consumers the option to choose which one they prefer. GigaOm says the main reason Google is introducing an entirely separate initiative is because the Chromecast's hardware is limited, and is not "capable of everything." "Think of it as an Ouya done right," GigaOm wrote.
Competitors such as Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV are all vying to become the de facto choice in the streaming market, and Google is ready to jump in. The Chromecast is great for what it does, and you can't beat the price. But following Google's failed Google TV project, the search giant wants to prove it can create a viable platform that everyone wants. That's assuming we're all itching to play Android games on a big TV. If you have a set-top box already, there doesn't sound like much reason to switch. We'll find out at I/O.