Korea's ETNews reports that with Android 4.4 "KitKat", Google may place an added emphasis on connected televisions, and not just smartphones. The news isn't surprising given recent reports that Google has actually canned Google TV, and will rely on Android 4.4 as its Smart TV platform when it's released later this month. Chromecast was merely the beginning.
According to unnamed sources, Google has improved the "TV" interface and user experience, compared to what was offered on Google TV. "The next OS has greatly improved its utilization in TV," one source stated. "In particular, there will be many changes in the interface between smart devices and the TV." That implies Google is looking to smooth the relationship between Smart TV and mobile devices.
The report goes on to confirm what we've already heard in the past, that Google TV participants, such as LG Electronics and Sony, must now refer to the platform as Android TV. Sources believe that Google is taking the "Android" route to distance itself from its previous attempt to provide a separate (and somewhat failed) TV-based OS, and use a more globally-accepted branding.
CNET reports that KitKat will be a minor release despite the new chocolaty, crispy name, with mostly tweaks made to the UI instead of a truckload of functionality. Yet because of all the chatter around this build and Android TV, the company may actually be focusing mostly on the TV interface, and how smartphones and tablets will interact with Android TVs. One OS instead of two just makes a lot of sense.
Recent screenshots indicate that a smartphone or tablet screen could be mirrored on a television screen by using Miracast. That said, mobile devices could have Android TV already packed into devices with the KitKat update installed: simply "throw" the screen onto an HDTV just like media can be "thrown" onto Chromecast.
Let's also not forget the set-top/console rumors: these will supposedly have Android KitKat as well. Something tells us that we're going to see some heavy TV-themed goods in the near future, and with KitKat stamped all over them.