Today, we’ve seen Google confirm Android 5.0 Lollipop, announcing the Nexus 6 phablet and the Nexus 9 tablet, and also announce the first Android TV device, the Nexus Player. The Nexus Player represents the first device to follow the Android TV announcements made back in the summer at Google I/O and is based around Android 5.0 Lollipop. The device itself looks similar to one of the LG Qi wireless chargers, or perhaps even a small hockey puck. The hardware has a high speed WiFi radio, a few buttons and HDMI as the video and sound output. The Nexus Player is powered by a quad core, 1.8 GHz Intel Atom processor, but no word if this is a 64-bit capable processor nor the other specifications.
The software behind the Nexus Player is where the device really starts to shine. Google is bringing our favourite content to the Player via Netflix, YouTube, Plex plus games, applications and online magazines. As you’d expect, the Nexus Player is designed with Google Cast in mind and can be used to send all of your Android content to your television if you own a Google Chromecast. The Nexus Player extends Google’s desire to make Android 5.0 a more refined, less geeky product that’s easily accessible by many people. This is why OEMs are not permitted to change the interface of Android TV; Google has worked hard to make sure that the interface works well and this consistency is important. It’s one of the reasons why older devices such as the 2012 Nexus 7 are receiving Android Lollipop.
However, the hardware and software is less important than content: as the saying goes, content is king. We are now seeing other providers jumping on the Android TV train, first Plex and now AOL. AOL have announced that Android TV and the Nexus Player will have access to their full library of premium content, which includes around a million premium videos, AOL’s movie library (encompassing Miramax), plus their branded content such as HuffPost Live, TechCrunch and MAKERS. It’s quite a different service to that of Plex, but it’s encouraging to see different companies and providers supporting Google’s new platform. With the unit costing just $99, plus optional controllers, the Nexus Player might just succeed where the Nexus Q failed. Are you tempted?