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Google streaming hardware with radical new interface could be on the way

Just yesterday it was reported Android TV may be rebranded to Google TV. One of the reasons and possibilities we speculated on was the potential for Google-made hardware running the operating system.

Less than 24 hours later, that theory now appears to be the frontrunner. A report from Protocol suggests a brand new dongle is on the way with a brand new interface that focuses on content rather than individual applications.

The sources say Google is attempting to compete with Amazon and Roku in the streaming space with the new hardware that has a physical resemblance to the current Chromecast offering. The difference is that no phone would be needed to launch content. The device would act as a media streamer in its own right, complete with a dedicated Google Assistant-enabled remote control. Google Stadia will, naturally, be on board, the report says.

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It’ll still be possible to install the main entertainment apps, but Google will place the content itself front and centre, in much the same way Amazon does with the Fire TV devices. The report points out that Netflix likes to keep its content housed within its app, rather than sitting alongside shows form other providers in a central interface. The sources say this approach could cause strain between Google and the developers of these apps.

The report closes by saying:

Google is now talking to major streaming services about supporting APIs for the upcoming version of Android TV. Addressing their concerns, and ultimately getting them to support a more content-focused interface, could be key to the success of the company’s new streaming hardware.

As for the name, well it appears Google won’t be going with Android TV. The report says it might even be branded under the Nest smart home range – the umbrella that encompasses the company’s learning thermostats, security cameras, smart speakers and displays. The idea behind the distinct branding is to ensure the device stands alone from the array of Android TV devices already out there, according to the report.

When Google plans to launch this device remains to be seen, but it may have been outed at the now-cancelled Google I/O developer event, which was scheduled to take place this month.

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