This week saw Google’s Nexus event take place in the U.S. The event saw Google unveil two new Nexus smartphones, a couple of new Chromecasts and even a new hybrid tablet. But unfortunately no Nexus Player. There had been some very small indications before hand that a new Nexus Player might be on the way. This was largely thanks to an FCC filing that popped up suggesting one might be coming. But that obviously was not to be the case. So why no Nexus Player? Is it a sign of Google losing interest in Android TV?
Well, in terms of the second question, no, it is unlikely that Google is losing interest in Android TV. What is far more likely, is that Google was never intending on releasing a Nexus Player this year. This was probably decided before the first Nexus Player was released and as such, sees Google sticking to their Android TV game plan. Not losing interest.
Last year was the year in which Android TV arrived. It saw its introduction at Google I/O and then its product launch at least year’s Nexus event. In contrast, this year seems to have been much more focused on expanding the Android TV platform, the availability of apps, the third party products and so on. The emphasis for 2015 for Google was probably never about a second generation Nexus Player.
Take the Chromecast for instance. The original Chromecast was launched in 2013 and with no second generation in 2014. Instead, 2014 saw the Chromecast being pushed forward, its software and features expanding and the number of apps that it could cast from increasing. This focus led to the Chromecast being one of the biggest selling streaming devices of 2014. Then, came 2015 and the Nexus event and we saw not one Chromecast, but two, the second generation Chromecast and a separate Chromecast especially for Audio. So, 2013 release, 2014 expansion, 2015 second release. This not only seems like a good way for Google to approach this sort of hardware, but also a good way to ensure the platform grows more naturally, steadily and with a better software experience.
If Google had been pre-occupied with releasing another Nexus Player already, then chances are, the Android TV platform would not have seen much as much development as it did in the last year. Content and Android TV app providers are still getting used to the platform and porting their apps over to run on Android TV. Allowing the time to continue with a gap in the product market will offer the platform a chance to grow and improve.
There is also another major difference between the Chromecast (which took two years to see its successor) and the Nexus Player. The Chromecast is a standalone product, the Nexus Player is not. As such, two years in the lifespan of the Chromecast is a very long time. In contrast, Android TV has seen a number of arrivals land on the market in 2015. Options from NVIDIA, Razer, Sharp and Sony are all now available to buy. This widening of availability and variance of products, compared to the likes of the Chromecast, highlight even further that a second generation Nexus Player always seemed unlikely to be on the cards for this year. 2015 was simply the year of Android TV growth and adoption. It has been slow, but it has been happening and will continue to grow going forward. Only yesterday, Google announced a few more products sporting Android TV will be on the way from third-party manufacturers and as a result, 2016 will see the growth of the platform continue and hopefully, by the end of the year, it will be time for the second generation Nexus Player.