Android TV didn’t get any keynote stage time at Google’s I/O developer conference in Mountain View, Calif. Tuesday, but the company still used the event to share some updates for its smart TV platform. Most notably, Android TV will be making making it easier to sign up for video subscription services.
To do this, Google is giving publishers the option to combine steps like the sign-up for a service, the installation of the necessary app and the log-in with a user’s credentials, requiring users to press a lot fewer buttons — a kind of one-click subscription feature, if you will.
This feature can be seen as a response to the growing popularity of channel stores like Amazon Channels. Amazon’s Fire TV offers Channels as a way for consumers to subscribe to services like HBO and Starz without the need to download any separate apps at all for these services.
Amazon Channels has proven extremely popular with consumers, leading to companies like Roku and Apple copying the model. However, the approach isn’t quite as popular with publishers, with many being concerned about handing over heir customer relationships to a powerful middleman. It seems that Google is now offering publishers a middle ground by giving them a way to simplify subscriptions without the need to give up on their own apps.
Google also revealed some Android TV growth stats at Google I/O: Android TV is now being used by over 140 pay TV operators worldwide, and 6 out of the top 10 smart TV manufacturers are working with Google on Android TV devices. The platform now has content from over 1000 streaming content providers, and over 5000 apps together. Android TV head Shalini GovilPai estimated in an interview with Variety that 70-75% of these apps are available to U.S. consumers.
With that growing popularity, the company is also increasingly dealing with discovery issues. Google wants to solve those issues with a relaunch of the Play Store on Android TV later this year with a bigger focus on discovery. “Too much choice can be a problem,” said Android TV developer ecosystem product lead Anwar Haneef during a recent interview with Variety.
One thing Google I/O attendees didn’t get to see was a new version of Android TV. The smart TV operating system received out major UI changes last year, and the company apparently has no plans for another such revamp in the near future. Asked whether Google would upgrade the Android TV codebase to Android Q, GovilPai said: “We don’t necessarily need to be on the same timeline.”