Google is moving forward with development of a new Android TV-powered OTT device that will compete head on with Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV ecosystems, tech news site Protocol reports.
This latest news corroborates and (slightly) expands on another anonymously sourced article from 9to5 Google in March, outlining a device that would supersede Google’s Chromecast dongle, but would feature the same hardware configuration.
The new device will likely carry branding from Google’s Nest home automation product line. Through Android TV, it will provide access to Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and most other OTT apps, as well as Google Assistant voice support. Protocol said the new device will enable content casting from mobile devices. And it will support Google’s Stadia cloud-based gaming service.
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Notably, the new device would include drilled down search and discovery surfacing features that would emphasize individual programs instead of the apps that include these programs.
Google is said to be anxious to compete with Roku and Amazon in a more direct way than can be achieved with its limited Chromecast, which is a device only for casting OTT apps on smart phones to the living room television.
But as Protocol points out, Google has a “strained” relationship with the third-party electronics makers who license Android TV for products like smart TVs. And building its own Android TV product line won’t sooth any of that irritation. With this in mind, Google will take pains to market its device “under a distinct brand, separating it from third-party streaming devices based on Android TV,” Protocol said.
The device could reportedly be available as soon as this summer.
Google has yet to officially comment or confirm any of this.
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