Google (GOOGL) is reportedly preparing the release of a new set-top media box dubbed Android TV, according to a series of new rumors today. There’s a reported leak of internal Google documents obtained ‘exclusively’ by The Verge, that said the search giant is planning a device that will be more in line with offerings from Roku, the Apple TV (AAPL), Amazon’s (AMZN) just-released Fire TV, and other set-top boxes.
Judging by the documents The Verge quotes, this isn’t just a rehash of Google TV. Google’s new effort — Android TV — will consist of a much simpler interface than its predecessor Google TV, which after first being introduced in late 2010 failed to go mainstream.
The Android TV, notes the report, will dismiss certain apps such as touchscreen support and near-field communication and many other unneeded features like telephony or cameras. The stripping of such apps is to narrow the devs focus and to contribute to a simpler-style form product. Shows, games, photos, music, and films are the reported features.
“Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform,” the Google documents reportedly say. “It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction. It will be “cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast”.
Google is also expected to keep its latest development, Chromecast HDMI streaming accessory with the release of Google TV, with The Verge noting that devs will be required to build two different interfaces for the two different devices.
There’s no mention in the report about when Android TV might be released, but it’s said that Google is currently in the process of working with select developers to create apps and games for its upcoming platform with optimized interfaces for the TV, as apps for Vevo, Netflix (NFLX), Hulu, Pandora and Google’s own Play Movies and Hangouts are expected to ship with the device.
Google’s move comes as Apple is said to be planning to introduce a new Apple TV set-top box in April and is negotiating with Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) and other potential partners to add video content to its next Apple TV device.
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