Google is saying adios to the Google TV brand, but manufacturers will still be able to use the Android operating system within their smart television sets
Three years after launching Google TV, the service is going to be quietly phased out, according to GigaOm. Now that most smart television sets already have many of the services and features offered by Google TV -- which failed to excite the average consumer -- it makes sense that Google's technology will still be used in TV sets, but rebranded as "Android TV."
While the publication's source is an unnamed executive at an anonymous consumer electronics manufacturer, the news isn't much of a surprise. Google TV failed to gain a significant place in the home of most viewers in the West, and so linking the television service to the recognizable Android name would likely make the brand more memorable to the average consumer, thanks to the operation system's popularity in mobile devices.
A Google spokesperson declined to comment, however, in products that utilize the tech giant's smart TV platform, Google TV is barely mentioned. For example, Sony's Bravia TV uses the most recent version of Google TV, but the announcement of the new product last month did not mention this -- instead, TV marketing manager for Sony Electronics Jamie Marsh said the TV stick "brings the full power of Google services to your TV."
The tech giant said earlier this year that Google TV would be updated with the latest version of Android, which is important for developers still stuck on Android 3.2 -- while Google tablets are running on 4.3. Without access to new operating systems, app developers for smart television sets can't stay current -- and this impacts both the developer themselves and Google.
Android's last version, code-named KitKat -- which makes sense due to the company's partnership with Nestle -- is likely to be released by the end of this month. Google's Android chief Sundar Pichai earlier this month announced the forthcoming release of Android 4.4 by tweeting a picture of a giant Android figure resembling the chocolate snack. Rather than going with Key Lime Pie, the last Android setup follows Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, and Honeycomb.