The Android developers team recently shared some information on how the Android TV platform has evolved, including how the number of monthly active Android TV devices has grown by more than 80-percent in the last year. In addition, the team also explained some of the new interface changes users can expect in the future.
Android TV might not seem like it competes with Fire TV or Roku at the consumer device level, due to the general lack of set-top boxes and streaming players found online and in physical stores. However, Android TV has been making a major push towards OEM and operators over the last few years to ensure more third-party devices come running on Android TV.
According to Google’s Android developers team, Android TV is now available on TV sets from seven of the top ten smart TV manufacturers, and has also been adopted by more than 160 operators, worldwide. In addition, there are now more than 7,000 Android TV apps available to download from the Google Play Store.
Similar to another recent announcement by Google, the Android developers update pointed out how Android TV has been a launch day partner for “some of the hottest apps” around, including HBO Max and Peacock. Two apps that are currently unavailable on the competing Fire TV and Roku platforms.
What’s coming to Android TV next
One of the main features the developer team discussed is the arrival of instant apps on Android TV. This feature makes it easier for users to try apps and games before actually downloading them. Instead, users will be able to run the app in a test version and once finished, can decide if they want to download the full app experience or not.
Adding to the gaming experience in general, Android TV is also gaining HDMI’s audio low latency mode support. Essentially, HDMI now includes an option where devices can be set to disable certain post processing features when in gaming mode to minimize latency. Android TV now supports this feature.
When it comes to actually purchasing apps, games, videos, or subscriptions, Android TV is gaining a PIN code for purchases that will replace the need to type out a password. The general goal here is to make it quicker and easier to confirm a purchase with fewer characters inputted.
Another new feature, or more accurately, another being ported over from Android mobile is improvements to Gboard support. Compared to before, Android TV device owners will now be able to make use of “new layouts and features,” including speech-to-text and predictive typing.
Although Google did not specify exactly when all of these feature are going live, the suggestion was some are already in the process of rolling out and therefore, should be available to Android TV users sooner rather than later.
Source: Android Developers