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Google Announces Android TV, an OS for the Television

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Google made another play for the living room at this year's I/O developer conference, where it announced the heavily-rumored Android TV platform. Not a set-top device, this is an OS for the television, and consumers will first see it in action on sets from Sony and Phillips coming later this year, as well as set-top boxes from Razer and Asus.

The emphasis here is on ease, entertainment, and search. The user interface displays cards showing search results or recommendations personalized to the viewer's tastes. Android TV sets will come with a remote, but users will also be able to call up content using Chromecast-enabled remotes or Android watches. The platform supports Android games and can download apps from an Android TV app store launching this fall. Voice search will let users ask natural language questions, and get answers and recommendations. TechCrunch posted a hands-on story and said, "It’s similar in many ways to what Amazon has done with the Fire TV, but Google’s interface is better-designed and less confusing."

While the platform sounds impressive, the chatter online has mostly been about Google making yet another play for the living room. Google TV and the Nexus Q failed, and Google has a minor hit with the Chromecast. At this point, Google is giving tech writers TV fatigue. Mashable notes "Even before Google announced Android TV on Wednesday, it seemed everyone was rooting against it." If Google doesn't succeed this time, it may want to wait a while before trying again.

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