For those familiar with AirConsole, it looks like they have now released a dedicated app for Android TV. For Those unfamiliar with AirConsole, in short, it allows you to use your smartphone as a controller to play a bunch of games on your desktop. Back in December, they also partnered with OnePlus to release a small selection of exclusive games for the OnePlus 2, OnePlus One and OnePlus X. With the release of the Android TV dedicated app this week, this is now essentially what you can do with your home TV.
Once the app is downloaded, it is extremely easy to set up. Open the app and the front page will immediately advise you to head to the website on your mobile device’s browser. Once there, there will be a code on the Android TV screen which need to be inputted on your mobile. This establishes the connection and then you are good to go. The general app interface works much in the same way as the desktop version does. So once connected you can use your mobile device to browse through the selection of games and play. It is worth noting that the app does not seem to have any controller support at all. So you cannot use an Android TV controller to navigate the app once open – this is an all-in smartphone experience.
In terms of the selection of games, there is nothing too taxing here with the games being far more simplistic in nature, although, they are this way by design. The big benefit with AirConsole though and especially for Android TV, is that the app does support multiplayer functionality. So you and your friends can all connect your smartphones at the same time and make use of the selection of ‘party games’ that are on offer. After testing Poker, Quick Minds (sort of a Who wants to be a millionaire type game), and a couple of others, the general functionality works quite well. Controls are easy enough through the mobile and the multiplayer definitely does make a nice addition when using the big screen.
There are a couple of points to note. As already mentioned, there is no controller support at all. So you cannot do anything with the controller except exit the game. Speaking of which, when your phone is in ‘play mode’, it is a little inconvenient to navigate the app as there is no obvious ways to exit the game. To exit the current game you are playing, you have to click on the AirConsole logo at the top of your mobile screen. This will open an additional menu where you can leave the current session. Although, this sometimes does not actually exit the screen on Android TV which does cause the game to essentially become unresponsive. Which does mean you will have to close the app and reopen again. So there is some tweaks to the general interface which could be included and likely will be (hopefully) in a future update. On the whole, it does work quite well. Lastly, it is worth mentioning that a number of games might not be playable on certain devices. When using a OnePlus 2, a number of games would display a “not compatible with your device” message. Thankfully, it does display the message before you attempt to open the game which is a positive.
If you want to check out AirConsole, it is now available to download from the Play Store and is a free to download app.