Google said there are now over 80% more Android TV monthly active devices than a year ago as demand for content and video apps increases.
The company said Android TV is now working with seven of the top 10 smart TV OEMs and more than 160 pay TV operators. As the audience grows on Android TV, the platform is introducing new features and functions to improve the user experience for developers.
Google Play Instant on TV allows users to try apps instantly without having to install it. Android TV Emulator lets developers test their TV projects and it now supports Google Play, which the company said makes it a faster option than testing on real devices. Google also said that Android TV users will soon be able to purchase content with a PIN code instead of a password on Google Play.
Android TV is also soon introducing Gboard TV to make typing on TV easier through new layouts and features including speech-to-text and predictive typing. The platform is also adding auto low latency mode, which will let users ask Android TV to disable post-processing and minimize latency whenever a gaming application is shown fullscreen.
Finally, the platform is introducing leanback library improvements to simplify app navigation, top tab navigation, paging through media titles and shared code bases across mobile and TV.
The updates to Android TV are popping up as Google is reportedly working on a new streaming device. XDA Developers recently unearthed some new details and images for Google’s rumored Android TV-based streaming device and the product – codenamed “Sabrina” – could be better positioned to compete with the biggest streaming device makers. The potential successor to Chromecast Ultra, which might be sold under Google’s Nest brand name, may include improvements like the Android TV platform and a dedicated voice remote.