Android TV device makers will no longer need to provide three platform updates.
Google has reportedly changed an Android TV policy and the change now means device makers only need to provide a device with two major updates.
The same reports also echoes a previous report confirming Android 10 for Android TV will be released before the end of the year.
Less Android TV updates is both a good and bad thing
The information on this comes from a new 9to5 Google report. On the face of it, less guaranteed platform updates is a bad thing. It does essentially mean if you buy a new Android TV device you won't have the same update protection you had before. At least not for the same length of time.
However, it is understood that this change is designed to make it easier on device makers. That's not because device makers have an easy time of it in general, if anything, the opposite is the truth. Device makers are placed under a good deal of pressure with Android TV updates and this can sometimes result in a speedy, but less stable updates.
Lessening that pressure in any way might result in more companies opting to support the platform to begin with.
The Android TV update change is a minimum
Just because Google has changed its update policy, doesn't necessarily mean less updates for all. Like Android mobile, Android TV device makers are all different.
NVIDIA is a case in point. The original SHIELD TV launched in 2015 and is still updated to the same degree as the 2017 model. In fact, it's running the same OS version as a new Android TV device released today would be.
Based on that track record, this change will not affect NVIDIA Android TV products as the company already operates beyond the current requirement. The change simply means those who struggle with the current level of updating won't have to continue updating.
Android 10 for Android TV coming in Q4?
A leaked Android TV roadmap came through last week pointing to Android 10's release in 2019. This latest report reaffirms the point. With Q4 around the corner now, it seems likely it will be then when the update comes through.
However, just because Android 10 for Android TV is released, doesn't mean that's when users will get to see it. Yes, if a new device is released after that date (hi NVIDIA), then it may come running on Android 10, but that's not the same as existing devices getting their update.
The SHIELD is probably the best supported Android TV device out there at the moment and SHIELD TV products only received their Android 9 Pie update in July. In other words, SHIELD owners probably should not expect an Android 10 update until 2020, at the earliest.
The same is true for any other Android TV device currently on the market.