Google is moving forward with development of a new Android TV-powered OTT device that will compete head on with Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV ecosystems, tech news site Protocol reported.
This latest news corroborates and (slightly) expands on another anonymously sourced article from 9to5 Google in March, outlining a device that would supersede the Chromecast dongle but feature the same hardware configuration.
Google has yet to comment.
The new device will likely carry branding from Google’s Nest home automation product line. Through Android TV, it will provide access to Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and most other OTT apps, as well as Google Assistant
voice support. Protocol said the device will enable content casting from mobile devices. And it will support Google’s Stadia cloud-based gaming service.
The device would include drill-down search and discovery surfacing features that would emphasize individual programs instead of apps.
Google is said to be anxious to compete with Roku and Amazon in a more direct way than can be achieved with its limited Chromecast, which is a device only for casting OTT apps from smartphones.
But as Protocol pointed out, Google has a “strained” relationship with the third-party electronics makers that license Android TV for products like smart TVs. And building its own product line won’t soothe any of that irritation. With this in mind, Google will take pains to market its device “under a distinct brand, separating it from third-party streaming devices based on Android TV,” Protocol said. The device could reportedly be available as soon as this summer.
Meanwhile, In addition to developing its own Android TV-based OTT device, Google is also rumored to be contemplating a rebrand of Android TV as “Google TV.
As 9to5 Google noted, such a rebrand has precedents: what is now known as the Google Play Store was once Android Market; Android Pay was Google Pay; and Android Messages was Messages by Google.