"Archer" Might Be A Google Android TV Device, But Probably Not Pixel Player

There's the possibility that a new Android TV device might be on the horizon.

The details on this are extremely scarce at the moment but basically references have been spotted for a device that goes by the codename "Archer" in AOSP commits that have yet to be merged. The references were found in relation to various TV elements, such as the tuner and the "Live TV" app.

The Live TV app is the open source reference version of Google's "Live Channels" app that's commonly available on Android TV devices.

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Beyond the mentioning of the Archer name there does not seem to be much else to note. This is not a name that is associated with any known Android TV device which is why it is now proving interesting.

For example, where some of the references were spotted, there was also separate references made to the "Nexus Player." The suggesting being the features have been tested, or are planning to be tested on both devices.

In the past Google has released Android TV devices that are specifically designed for developers to test with. There's the ADT-1 and the more recent and dongle-based ADT-2. However, Archer has no previously known affiliation with either of these devices. For example, "molly" is the codename for the ADT-1 while "beast" is the codename for the ADT-2.

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Considering the ADT-2 is a fairly new device, it would be assumed that this is not an even never developer unit. The ADT-1 was first launched back in 2014 and its replacement, the ADT-2, was not announced until 2018 and so it seems unlikely a newer version is suddenly in the works.

In spite of this, it remains to be seen what exactly this Archer device is, if it is even a device. The only rumors pointing to a major new Android TV device revolve around the NVIDIA SHIELD as it has been suggested a new updated version is coming. If a new SHIELD is coming, that will not be Archer.

If this is an actual Android TV device, and one that Google is working on as a first-party maker or co-collaborator then it might be the case that the device gets unveiled during the next Google hardware event in October – alongside the Pixel 4.

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Of course, that is highly speculative at the moment and ever since the Nexus Player met its demise, a year has yet to pass where there hasn't been speculation in the run-up to Google's October events of an incoming "Pixel Player."

Another, and honestly more likely possibility is that this name refers to a set-top box designed for operators. Google is known to be working on what is in effect a white-label Android TV device (understood to be built by Askey) that it plans to let operators market as their own box. The idea being the use of a device like this will provide operators with a quicker and easier route to deployment.

Not only does the existence of this OTT box point to the likelihood of Archer being that box, but at the same time Google has made it clear that the operator and OEM route is its preferred option when it comes to Android TV.

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Google has been courting the operator market in recent years and routinely makes the case of how many operators globally have embraced the platform. Its new pre-certified OTT hardware solution is designed to make sure those operator numbers continue to climb.

Again, there's no guarantee that Archer is this operator STB, but it would seem the most likely candidate at the moment.

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