Google said that the number of streaming devices that are powered by the Android TV operating system, along with the recently introduced Google TV search-and-discovery overlay, has surpassed 80 million worldwide.
Announcing a range of new Android TV news and features at its I/O Developers Conference Tuesday, Google also said that Android TV device deployments are up 80% year over year in the U.S.
The tech giant said that it’s new WatchNext API—which lets developers integrate binge-enabling features into their apps—has increased “re-engagement" by a factor of ~30% … in “certain cases.” In other words, it’s enticing users to keep watching within the app, either the next episode or some other show.
Google said 100 “major media partners’ are using the WatchNext API.
The next iteration of Android TV, meanwhile, is already being tested—Android 12 Beta 1 is now available to use on the ADT-3, an Android TV device Google hands out to app developers.
As for new features being announced in the Android TV here and now, those include enhancements to the ability to transfer streams from mobile devices and the Chrome browser to apps running on Android TV. The new “Stream Transfer” feature lets users from device to device within the home, following them as they change rooms. “Stream Expansion,” meanwhile, lets users port the audio track to what they’re watching to a smart speaker.
Meanwhile, Google is also introducing an emulation Android smartphone app that enables users with older smart TVs and streaming devices to enjoy the Google TV experience. The new “Google TV Emulator” is a software program that runs Google TV on Android 11, letting users cast their stream to their TV. The Emulator even mimics your TV remote on your smartphone.
In fact, Google is updating Android mobile so that Android-powered mobile devices can now be used as Android TV remote controls.
Finally, Google has reached a deal with Firebase Test Lab to offer Android TV support. Now, developers can have Firebase run their app on Android TV emulators in the cloud, allowing them to scale tests across hundreds, or even thousands, of virtual devices. Tests on physical devices will be added soon.
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