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Android TV Heading Back to 2010 with “Google TV” Rebrand?

If the latest rumor is correct, Android TV is about to head back to 2010 and Google TV.

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Android TV might be next on the Google rebrand list with the suggestion the TV-optimized platform could soon be renamed “Google TV.” This wouldn’t be the first product to get the “Google” name-change, and probably won’t be the last.

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Google has a tendency to rebrand, well, rename products and services after itself with Google Pay – formerly, Android Pay – one of the more recent examples. If the latest rumor is correct, then Android TV is going to follow an almost identical route.

The information on the rumored rebranding comes from 9to5Google, who cites a “little birdie” for the details. Besides the actual rebrand, no further information was provided on when the change could happen or why it might be happening.

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Not the first time Google has tried with Google TV

Long before Android TV was a thing, and even before streaming was what it is today, Google tried its hand at a smart TV platform, named Google TV. Announced in usual Google fashion at an annual I/O event, Google TV was first unveiled back in 2010.

Google TV 2010
Google TV originally launched in 2010

However, the platform was not long for this world, and as early as 2013, the reports started surfacing indicating that Google wanted to rebrand and relaunch its smart TV solution. As this 2013 GigaOM report points out, Google was intending to rebrand Google TV as… “Android TV.”

Now, with the latest report suggesting that another smart TV platform rebrand is on the horizon, and with the suggestion that it will mean a return to the Google TV name, the company’s TV ambitions will have come full circle.

The same, but not the same?

While it remains unknown whether a change from Android TV to Google TV will result in any further changes to the platform, the distancing from Android is interesting. Regardless of anything, Android TV does run on a version of Android optimized for the TV. The overlap is so evident that many Android mobile apps can actually be sideloaded onto an Android TV device and work, even if not at full capacity. In this sense, Android TV is very much an Android product at its core.

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Of course, over the last couple of years it has seemed like Google has wanted to emphasize other powered-by technologies with Cast and Google Assistant two of the most common. Even its smart display platform, which although a display-based product line, came running on Android Things (now also gone) and Google Assistant. With the notable exception being Google’s own first-party Home Hub (now Nest Hub) smart display which reportedly runs on a version of Google Cast – just like the company’s Chromecast.

Speaking of which, there’s also recently been rumors that Google plans to launch a new Chromecast. The difference being the new one is powered by Android TV. That in itself seemed like a big move, and if this latest rumor is correct, then all might not be as it first seemed with that Chromecast.

If nothing else, it might not be an Android TV-powered dongle that launches at all. Instead, it could be a Google TV Chromecast. While that might sound like a different product altogether, maybe that’s actually the point. Maybe, a Google TV Chromecast sounds more appealing to average buyers, than a Google Chromecast powered by Android TV.

Source: 9to5Google

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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