A new report suggests that an Android set-top box is on the way to our living rooms. Via The Verge, we learn that Google is getting ready to launch a streaming device to run right into Roku and Apple TV, offering services like Netflix and Hulu. It also confuses the space outside of mobile for Google, and convolutes a comment made earlier by Sundar Pichai.
The new device was originally said to offer a Kinect-esque movement sensor, but today’s news doesn’t mention that. It is noted to have a touchpad remote sold alongside the device, which is a strange departure. If this proves to be accurate, Google will have a Chromecast, Google TV, and this Nexus TV device all set for the living room.
When the Chromecast was launched, Google TV was called into question. Would the set-top box live on? Android and Chrome chief Sundar Pichai said both had a place in the living room, though few could see how — or why. Google TV has never found widespread adoption, and the Chroemcast offers everything we need at a bargain basement price. With the Nexus TV (our designation, not official), we wonder what the real plans could be, and where the breaking point is for Google’s living room efforts.
It seems the real angle here could be Android gaming. The report mentions that the device would offer a selection of games, but doesn’t note if the full library offered via the Play Store would be available. If so, the Nexus TV seems to step on more toes, as devices like Shield or Ouya try to find a home with Android gaming fans.
We should also note that this is another in a long line of reports surrounding Google’s Android set-top box efforts. Andy Rubin was said to have shown off a device of this kind behind closed doors at CES, but that was nearly a year ago. We have, to date, seen no official mention of this effort by Google. While we like the idea of an Android set-top device, it has the potential to confuse consumers beyond the one-two punch of Chromecast and Google TV.