Finally fulfilling a promise made back in May, some of LG’s Google TV devices are receiving the long-awaited Android 4.2.2 update. While updates are always welcome, this one takes away some of the finer treats of a Google TV device. The Chrome browser has been switched from the PC to Android version, leaving users without access to services like Hulu, watchESPN, or Crackle because Adobe Flash is gone. The update is 297.8 MB, so sit tight if you plan on grabbing it right away. Hit the break for the full changelog and another image of the update.
It was recently reported that Google is dropping the “Google TV” branding in favor of “Android TV.” How Android TV is going to differ (if at all) from Google TV remains a question, but it’s obvious Google is serious about the living room with the recent launch of the Chromecast. The latest word out of Korea is that Android 4.4 Kit Kat is going to include more enhancements regarding Android TV rather than smartphone UI.
According to etnews, many industry insiders have said “I heard Google say the next OS has greatly improved its utilization in TV. In particular, there will be many changes in the interface between smart devices and the TV.” Two questions come to mind: What does Google have in store for us and how will they get more TV manufacturers to adopt Android TV? The former will probably be answered soon enough, but the latter is more difficult. Other than set-top boxes from Vizio, Hisense, and ASUS, the only TV manufacturer on board is LG. Samsung has no plans to bring Android TV to their sets, and in fact, they are more likely to utilize Tizen instead. We should hopefully no more by the end of the month.
Out with the old and in with the new. Google is ditching Google TV after three years of struggling to gain traction in the living room. According to GigaOM, a manufacturer explained that Google is opting to rebrand Google TV as Android TV. Although the product has struggled from the start, Google is likely leaning in favor of their new Chromecast, which has been selling out worldwide. The Chromecast functions alongside apps such as Netflix, Google Play Movies/TV/Music, Hulu, and YouTube. Also, the Chromecast shows manufacturers the possibilities of a low-cost media player. Google’s Sundar Pichai did say they would incorporate Chromecast features in an upcoming update to Google TV, but I guess they really meant Android TV.
Remember that Sony Google TV dongle (NSZ-GU1) that hit the FCC last month? Well Sony officially took the wraps off of it today. They aren’t calling it a Google TV device, but it does offer Google services such as Google Search and the Play Store. However, there is one major drawback, and it’s the fact that it appears to be only compatible with 2013 Sony Bravia TVs. It connects to the MHL port on the back of the TV, with a USB cable for power, so I’m not sure why it wouldn’t work any other branded TV or AV receiver that has an MHL port. Sony only mentioned 2013 Bravia TVs in the press release.
It has 8GB of internal storage, HDMI passthrough and an IR blaster. The remote control features a keyboard and a pad for pinch-to-zoom as well as a microphone for voice commands. It will come with Netflix, Pandora, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, YouTube, the Chrome Browser and more pre-installed. Of course, users can add more apps via the Google Play Store. Chromecast functionality wasn’t mentioned in the presser.
The Bravia Smart Stick is priced at $149 and is already available at Sony Stores and select retailers nationwide. Hit the break for one more image and the full presser.
You remember how we talked about that mysterious Sony model number recently? You know— the NSZ-GU1 model that’s set to revolutionize how we look at the Google TV platform? Well it’s not only the real deal, we finally have our first view of how the cool dongle will look like courtesy of the FCC. The shots show a very unique unit which includes a small terminal that houses the meat of the device like a Marvell DE3108 processor, 8GB of memory, 1GB of RAM, and the heart of the device— the small USB thumb-size dongle that utilizes Chromecast. It even supports MHL, but it also has an integrated IR blaster as well as HDMI in for pass through of your cable or satellite box. If you remember, Google said Chromecast was coming to Google TV, so this could very well be the first such device.
As of now, we know the unit is heading towards American shores, but we don’t know when exactly just yet. We’ll certainly keep our eyes and ears open for any further developments. More images after the break.
Since releasing their Chromecast dongle, Google has insisted the device will live alongside their Google TV platform. Evidence for this surfaced in a recent FCC filing by Sony for a device with the model number NSZ-GU1. The model number is similar enough to previous Sony Google TV boxes, the NSZ-GT1, NSZ-GS7 and the NSZ-GS8, that we can be pretty confident this is part of their Google TV family of devices. Unlike previous models though, the NSZ-GU1 was submitted to the FCC due to some wireless capabilities.
We heard reports that Google was working on a new set-top box, but when the Chromecast was announced, the early assumption was that this was the device. Apparently there is another device in the pipeline, but unfortunately we don’t know if it will ever come out. It was actually referred to as an “over-the-top” set-top box a couple of months ago. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Google actually showed the prototype in private back at CES 2013.
It was powered by Android and demoed by Andy Rubin. It even had a video camera and motion sensor for Hangouts. The original plan was to launch this device at Google I/O, but obviously that didn’t happen. Did Google scrap plans for the device in favor of the Chromecast or is there room for the two devices. As expected Google didn’t make a comment on this topic, but one thing they did say was that Google TV isn’t dead. In fact, the plan is to bring the Chromecast feature to Google TVs soon.
The Chromecast seems like an amazing device, but to me it’s not the holy grail. It doesn’t have local media streaming and it doesn’t have HDMI pass through like Google TV boxes. However, at $35 it is a very compelling product for most people. I still think Google is going to come out with yet another product that has more features to satisfy the power hungry users.
source: Wall Street Journal
After Google dropped their Chromecast announcement yesterday, it would be easy to call it the nail in Google TV’s coffin. However, Google doesn’t seem to think so. Sundar Pichai told CNET that Google TV was absolutely going to grow and evolve alongside Chromecast, and neither device would be replacing the other. Considering Google has pledged to update Google TV to Jelly Bean later this year, it makes sense, but with Chromecast preorders sold out within hours, it’s easy to see how much damage Chromecast could potentially do to Google TV’s success.
Pichai also said that Google TV would be getting some newer partners and software updates later in the year, which would go a long way towards helping its popularity. Still, though, it hasn’t had much early success, and it is still possible for Google TV to go the way of Google Reader. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
According to a recent report, Google is working on offering a traditional TV programming service that would be delivered over the Internet in competition against typical cable or satellite TV providers. For several years now, companies have been working to add a variety of Internet services to their TV hardware leading to things like Netflix coming preloaded on Blu-Ray players or directly on televisions. Google would turn this model on its head though, taking the hardware people typically use for Internet services and offering TV programming on it.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is working on a videogame console, a smartwatch and a followup to the Nexus Q. None of this is surprising as we have heard tidbits about all three. The big question is when we will actually get to see these devices? According to WSJ, one of them will be launched this fall. The gaming console is probably the most intriguing and one has to wonder why Google would get into this game? One big reason might be that Apple is rumored to be doing the same thing as part of its next Apple TV release. The Nexus Q followup is clearly a TV box of some kind and will most likely be the next generation Google TV that everyone is waiting for.
We heard reports of Android-powered laptops back in April, and WSJ confirmed that HP is working on them with the next version of Android. Speaking of the next version of Android, it is known internally as “K release”, or shall we say Key Lime Pie? As we reported earlier, it might be compatible with lower end devices as in ones with as little as 512MB of RAM.