Google is to unveil a set-top box at its developers conference today, June 25. The company plans to show a box to compete with the Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV.
Google’s new device will carry another company’s brand, but will be powered by Google’s new Android TV software designed to play movies, games and other content on television sets, people who saw the product told the Wall Street Journal. Users will be able to control the box using Android smartphones or tablets, and potentially other devices.
Google declined to comment on the report.
Broadband TV Views. So far, Google has not been successful with its TV venture, except for its Chromecast hdmi dongle, which turns any flat screen TV set into a connected TV set for just EUR35.
Google TV was the first try, with TV sets from Sony, and later on Samsung, LG and Vizio and set-tops from TCL, Hisense, Asus and Logitech. Unfortunately, despite backing from hardware companies, the content lagged behind and failed to make Google TV a success.
Google also entered into the set-top box business by buying Motorola, but in December 2012 the company sold the Motorola Home unit to Arris in a $2.35 billion (€1.92 billion) deal.
Google launched its Chromecast last year and so far this has proven to be a relative success – mainly due to its cheapness and simplicity. Software support is now slowly building up and already the like of Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and HBO are on the platform, with many more to come.
Now comes the news of Android TV, which is set to compete with the Roku box, with Apple TV and the new Amazon Fire TV. The marketplace looks crowded, but so far none of these has really cracked it – Apple TV still looks like a hobby, and for Fire TV it is too early for judgement.
Google’s challenge will be the same as for all the others – combine ease of use with attractive content. The race is now on.