Once upon a time Google launched something called Google TV that was supposed to take the world by storm. Unfortunately it never really took off the way Google thought it would, and just this year it seemed that Google might just be dropping the Google TV thing for a little device called Chromecast. While Chromecast does many things, it isn’t even close to being as full featured as Google TV, and there’s a big reason for that. Google TV runs Android, and as such is a lot more powerful than Chromecast is. There’s also the fact that the hardware on a Google TV device is generally a lot more powerful than a Chromecast too.
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Now it sounds as if all that is going to change with the introduction of Android 4.4 KitKat. We’ve heard in the past that Google might be trying to re brand Google TV to Android TV, but this is the first big rumor about KitKat changing the landscape for those devices. It’s not clear whether or not Google will push for all Google TV’s up to this point to be updated to the new Android TV name and interface, but we’re seeing some serious talk out of Korean news outlet ETNews that points to LG switching the branding of their newest Google TVs to Android TV. They are also saying that there’s been a major update in the user interface and user experience (UI/UX) to the Google TV interface via Android 4.4 KitKat.
These updates not only bring a significantly better experience for the user, but also more integration with smart phones and other mobile devices. This is some pretty exciting news for the Google TV scene, especially given how stagnant Google TV has been in the past few months and years. Most Google TV units are still running Android 3.1 Honeycomb and don’t seem like they’ll ever be updated past that. This latest move to switch to Android TV may even spell the possibility of Google making its own Android TV units via Motorola’s set-top box division. Could this mean a Nexus TV line? Probably not, but it’s fun to dream. More than likely we’ll see Google bring new products to the market that have more functionality than Chromecast and cost a bit more because of it, but seeing some serious app development in the smart TV world would be really nice. Heck maybe we can even get true native screen mirroring via Miracast with an Android TV. One thing we know is for sure: Samsung won’t be releasing any Android TVs anytime soon, as they are busy working on launching their own Tizen powered TVs, which is their own in-house operating system.