Android TV: Should We Expect LeEco/Vizio Android TV Devices?

A week ago, this might have seemed like a very strange question to be asking. LeEco is a Chinese company who largely operates in Asia while Vizio is an American TV manufacturer who largely operates in the US. So asking whether they would work together to bring about an Android TV device with neither company seeming that interested in the Android TV market, would be a bit of a pointless question. And while it still is a pointless question, a lot can change in a week and for these two companies a lot has changed in the past seven days. This is because earlier in the week LeEco announced that they are acquiring Vizio outright. A purchase which is reportedly costing $2 billion and one which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year. So by time 2017 rolls around, Vizio will be an LeEco company.

So what does this mean and does this mean we should expect to see an Android TV device at some point in the future bearing the LeEco or Vizio branded? Well, it is not out of the question and it is certainly a possibility. LeEco already works with Android on their smartphones and Vizio is a TV maker, so it stands to reason that most of the dots are there to be connected already. Likewise, it seems fair to assume that it would not be that difficult for a product running Android TV to come to market through a LeEco and Vizio partnership. Although, it is already starting to seem very unlikely.

While the individual parts are all there, it does seem as though Android TV as an operating system is far from where LeEco wants to take the Vizio brand going forward. LeEco does not really have much of a presence in the US and Vizio is not exactly a brand many would identify with outside of the US. So it does seem to be the case that this is being considered a gateway purchase to an already-existing user base in the US...for TVs at least. More importantly though, if LeEco is using this as a gateway, then the easiest way for the owner company to make use of the newly-owned company is to actually have their products running their operating system.

And it is this last point that seems to really rule out the possibility of an LeEco/Vizio TV running Android TV. LeEco does not just make phones. In fact, they are one of these companies which has eggs in many baskets and are looking to establish a more inclusive ecosystem for their products. This actually includes already-existing technologies and outlets for video streaming and so on. They already have a wide portfolio of services and products and it is this portfolio that Vizio is being added to. So whether you buy one of their phones, a Vizio-branded TV, one of LeEco's Android-powered bicycles, it seems to be the case that LeEco wants you to experience their connected ecosystem and range of services - which is unlikely to be an ecosystem which is willing to accommodate Android TV in any capacity. So while it is possible, it does seem that this particular purchase is not going to have any meaningful knock-on effects for the world of Android TV.

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About the Author
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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]
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