CES 2015 came with all the typical manufacturer and device announcements we have come to expect. We heard a lot about devices we already knew about along with a few snippets of new announcements too. That said, two areas which were very big news at CES, was Android Auto and Android TV. Both had a significant presence when you consider that neither have any real products on the market. Android TV does have the Nexus Player, but other than that, Android TV is largely still in a pre-launch phase. So the decent turnout by Android TV at CES does highlight that 2015 will be a significant year for the new platform. In fact, chances are, it will be a make or break year.
Google have already been down this road before when they released Android TV’s predecessor, Google TV. However, unlike the early indications that we are seeing for Android TV, Google TV was a massive no-no. The platform just simply never took off. It was never clear why Google TV did not work. In fact, it is probably closer to the truth to say that there was no singular reason. The actual product was not great and this certainly did play a role, Google TV was buggy and not to mention, that its general navigation was quite difficult and laden with menus upon menus. It was just not as user-friendly as you would expect and especially expect from the Google we have come to know. In contrast, Android TV is landing with its own version of Lollipop built in. Android 5.0 (Lollipop) is literally the buzz OS system at the moment. It’s vibrant, colorful, and is most importantly, user-friendly. Its use of colors, style and general demeanor almost make it look childlike in its presentation, which adds to its Googley flavor. So, with Android TV there certainly won’t be the complication issues or difficulty-of-use noted with Google TV. It will be buggy of course, at first. But you can be sure those bugs will be dealt with by Google, quick time.
Another reason which could be pointed towards why Google TV did not take off, is the timing. Was the market ready for such devices or platforms back then? Yes, we had Netflix, YouTube and we did browse the internet. But did we care for a platform like Google TV? Maybe the product was just that bit too early! Again, in contrast, Android TV could not be landing at a better time. The market seems ripe for Android TV. Firstly, the landscape of online content has significantly grown. Cable companies are under extreme pressure to make their content more accessible. Not to mention, that now all our devices are connected. Not just to the internet but to each other. Android TV is the last building block which snugly fits, into your android-at-home experience. Your mobile is there, your tablet is there and with the rise of Chromebooks and Chrome OS, your laptop is there too. The TV seems like the next logical step. So, unlike Google TV, there is demand now and there is a purpose. Not to mention there is also willing partners looking to get in on the action. At CES, it was announced Sony, Sharp and Philips will all have TV’s with Android TV built-in, coming this year. In fact, Sony announced all their flagship Bravia devices will come loaded with Android TV. Which will be a nice selling point for the platform. The backing of manufacturers is of real importance. Just like when Android launched with the Open Handset Alliance (with the likes of Samsung, HTC and Sony), it is these partners who will put Android TV into consumers hands. You won’t buy a Bravia TV because it has Andriod TV, but you will buy one because it is a Sony Bravia TV.
To add to Android TV’s opportune timing, there is also currently another essential ingredient needed to ensure success. Competition. Android TV is not leading the way and creating the market, but it is merely trying to establish itself in a market which is already there. Google TV did not really have any similar competition when it first launched. Well, except the establishment itself. However, at the time, Google TV was never going to challenge that. In contrast, Android TV has stiff competition coming from Samsung and their Tizen TVs, LG and their WebOS TVs and Panasonic with their Firefox OS TVs. So the market is there and someone will lead it and there is a good chance that someone will be Google.
So the more you think about it, the more it does seem that Android TV is poised for a great year in 2015. Although the failure of Google TV should make users question Android TV, it seems the two are totally incomparable. Unlike Google TV, Android TV is landing in a world which already expects it, already wants it and is already waiting for it. Partners are lining up to show their support and put Android TV into consumers hands and there is enough stiff competition emerging up the flanks. Not forgetting, the actual product is significantly better than Google TV, will be much more user-friendly, integrative and of course comes with the sweetness of Lollipop. So 2015 does look set to be the year of Android TV. As we saw a few days ago when Google finally closed the book on Google TV, by removing support and advising developers to focus on Android TV. 2015 is the year that Android TV was the one who laid Google TV to rest and not Google.