Now that 2016 is finally here, it is time to start looking forward to the year ahead. In the Android TV world, this is a little harder to do though, as there is currently limited information available on what we should expect. Of course, last week one of the largest consumer electronic events, CES, took place in Las Vegas and this is typically where you might expect to gain some insight into how the rest of the year will pan out. A large number of companies and manufacturers are in attendance at the event and showing off most of the devices they have coming over the new few months and the rest of the year. In term of Android TV though, there was not exactly a lot to get your teeth stuck into.
The one big Android TV related announcement which did come through during CES was from Sony. The all-round electronics manufacturer is already a named Android TV device maker and they did release a number of TV sets which came with Android TV built-in back in 2015. However, their latest announcement confirmed the next TV sets which will be available in 2016 and running on the Android TV platform. These are the Sony XBR-X930D, the XBR-X940D and the XBR-X850D models and are all 4K TVs. Not to mention, they are ones designed to be ultra thin and boast HDR for improved definition. One interesting aspect which is worth noting about these TVs, is that they will come running with their own specifically designed Android TV app, which is currently being dubbed ULTRA. This app will allow for a native way to stream 4K content directly on the TV which is an interesting concept and certainly an aspect currently missing from other Android TV 4K-enabled devices.
NVIDIA were also at CES and we did get to meet up with them. Although, there was no new announcements in terms of hardware, NVIDIA did announce that the will be rolling out the Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) update to the SHIELD sometime in January. As we are now halfway through the month, if you are a SHIELD owner, it should be safe to say you will see the update landing in the next week or two. In the meantime, you can check out how the Marshmallow update will look in the video below.
Razer is a company we have not heard much from on the Android TV front in 2015. Although, they were also one of the companies who did bring to the market an Android TV device in the form of the Razer Forge TV. Razer were also at CES last week and again were showcasing their Razer Forge TV. Although, there is debate on whether we will see a revised product from them in 2016, we are expecting to see some action from Razer in the next few months as their acquisition of OUYA is going to be one which brings to the a wealth of new games and content to the Razer Forge TV .
However, although not at CES, Google themselves did make an announcement during CES week on Android TV. This was an announcement which did provide us with a little more information as to who else we can expect to see Android TV news emerging from in 2016. While the post did not go into specific details, Google did confirm that during 2016 Android TV devices will become available from the likes of Arcelik, Vestel, RCA, Hisense, TCL and Bang & Olufsen. Some of these (Hisense and TCL for instance) are companies that we have known are working on upcoming devices and do have Android TV units in the works. However, some of the others names are ones which will be welcomed additions and are likely to bring some interesting products to the market. It will be especially interesting to see what Bang & Olufsen has coming.
Either way, while CES was largely quiet (compared to other platforms and industries), that does not mean that Android TV is taking a back seat this year. There are things happening beneath the surface with a number of Android TV related companies and this year will prove to be an interesting year for the platform and at the moment, it does look like ‘expansion’ will be the word of the year. Not forgetting of course, with Google I/O now confirmed for May and the usual Nexus event expected to take place in the second half of the year, there is still always the chance of that second-generation Nexus Player arriving too. Fingers crossed.