In brief: Google Android TV is featured in smart TVs manufactured by many of the biggest OEMs in the industry. However, Google TV, the Google-developed launcher that sits on top of the OS, isn’t as famous. Google plans to improve that in 2022, bringing new features and improving content providers’ apps.
Director of Product Management Rob Caruso outlined some of what we can expect from the Google TV user interface in 2022. He didn’t make any firm early announcements, opting to provide a general guideline of Google’s research instead.
Some of the new features could be related to fitness, offering integrations with Google fitness services (Google Fit, Fitbit) and third-party services. Caruso also mentioned improved integration with smart home controls, similar to the new features found on Android devices. Additionally, Google TV users can also expect more communication apps such as Zoom and more free live TV channels, allowing users to watch content even if they don’t have an active subscription with a content provider.
Besides betting on new features, Google also wants to improve existing content providers’ apps, including Netflix, which still doesn’t allow users to add movies and shows to Google TV’s watchlist. Caruso promised that “things will get better,” but we’ll have to wait and see how things unfold.
Caruso expects the new features and improvements on content providers’ apps to increase Google TV’s adoption. At the moment, Google has 250 device partners worldwide, from which seven are some of the biggest TV OEMs in the industry. However, most of these use the old Android TV or custom versions.
“Over time, our bet and desire is that the Google TV experience will be the preferred choice for us and our partners that we deploy, but Android TV is still out there and it is still being deployed, and it’s obviously still supported,” said Caruso.
Considering the 110 million monthly active Android TVs worldwide, TCL is likely the OEM selling the most Google TVs. At CES 2022, the TV manufacturer claims it sells about 10 million Android and Google TVs per year. That’s almost 10 percent of the whole Android TV market. During CES, the company also announced its new $10,000 8K Google TV.