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Google developing Android TV set-top box interface

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Google is producing a new living room entertainment interface called Android TV.

The company’s last attempt to break into the smart TV UI space was the failed Google TV, which launched back in 2010 to little fanfare and even littler uptake.

Android TV appears to right the wrongs of this earlier attempt through a dramatically simplified navigation system.

According to documents and screenshots obtained by The Verge, Android TV sees Google steering away from trying to turn the average Smart TV into a giant Android smartphone, which is how Google TV felt at times.

"Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform," writes Google in the leaked documentation. "It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction."

This means that Google is reigning in its ambitions and focusing on accessibility. The company is said to be asking developers to concentrate on simplicity in their Android TV apps. The buzzwords here appear to be "cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast."

Apparently, this means that Android TV will draw closer to existing efforts such as Apple TV, Roku, and the new Amazon Fire TV. The interface will involve a line of scrolling content cards for movies, apps, and games.

In a further level of simplification, Google will push recommended and recently started content right to the home screen, so it’s there as soon as you turn on the TV. There’ll be no need to boot up an app in order to start browsing for content.

Even where the latter does occur, Google states that it should never take more than three clicks or gestures to move from the home screen to a piece of content.

Like the aforementioned Amazon Fire TV, there’ll be a bundled remote control with basic navigation buttons, as well as an optional game controller. Another familiar touch will be the inclusion of voice input recognition.

Where this leaves the Google Chromecast HDMI dongle, which takes a very different approach to living room entertainment, is slightly unclear.

It’s also unclear who will build the actual Android TV box itself, although reports back in December seemed to suggest that Google would be producing a set-top box in-house.

Next, read how Amazon Fire TV could make Apple and Google serious about TV

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