Give us a break: this can't be a coincidence.
It should come as no surprise that just days after Amazon released its Fire TV set-top-box to the public, documents describing Android TV – along with screenshots of the interface – begin to surface to wow potential customers. Some leaks are genuine leaks, but the timing of this one says otherwise.
In this installment, the documents fell into the hands of The Verge. According to the documents, Google is about to unleash a new assault onto the living room, and it won't be anything like Google TV, which failed to connect with consumers. "Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform," writes Google. "It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction. [It will be] cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast."
Android TV's interface will be simple, and Google is calling on developers to convert their own and/or build new simple apps. The report also states that this simple interface will consist of a set of scrolling "cards" to represent movies, shows, apps and games sitting on a "shelf".
To navigate through these cards and shelves, the customer uses the remote control to scroll left and right for different suggestions, and up and down to scroll through different categories. The remote will also include Enter, Home, and Back buttons. However Google mentions optional game controllers, meaning these can be used to navigate the interface as well (like consoles).
Not to be outdone by Fire TV, Google's solution will also support voice input and notifications although the docs show that Google wants developers to rely less on the notifications. Even more, the company wants access to content to be "simple and magical", meaning that Google wants the customer to make only three clicks or gestures when searching for content.
"Android TV is Android, optimized for the living room consumption experience on a TV screen," writes the company. The report indicates that Google is ripping out unneeded features in Android TV such as touchscreen support, telephony, cameras, and near-field communication to keep the developers focused on the available hardware. What that is right now is unknown.
Up until now, developers have targeted smartphones and tablets as the core audience. For Chromecast, all they had to do was, according to Google, insert a few lines of code in order for their apps to be compatible. However for Android TV, developers will need to target large screens using a new interface that will match Android TV's layout. All developers are said to be keeping the same graphical presentation across the board.
So what will happen with Chromecast now? As we previously speculated, it's not going anywhere. Instead, it will likely serve as a cheap alternative to Android TV, which could very well cost $99 to compete with Amazon's Fire TV. That of course will depend on the hardware: Google may possibly use Nvidia's Tegra 4 or Tegra K1 to please the Android gamers.