Google building Android set-top box with voice input, apps and games

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In 2011, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said that, “by the summer of 2012, the majority of the televisions you see in stores will have Google TV embedded.” But here it is, 2014, and a quick search of confirms that the lofty goal never came to fruition.

The company hasn’t given up on the living room though. In fact, according to a report from The Verge, it’s readying a new Android-based set-top right now. The site has obtained screenshots and other documents outing the project, which is apparently named Android TV…

Here’s The Verge’s Sean Hollister with more:

Google’s new vision for Android TV is less ambitious and easier to understand. The company is calling for developers to build extremely simple TV apps for an extremely simple set-top-box interface. While Android still lives under the hood, the interface will consist of a set of scrolling “cards” that represent movies, shows, apps, and games sitting on a shelf. You use a remote control with a four-way directional pad to scroll left and right through different suggestions, or up and down through different categories of content, each with their own shelves. Much like on other set top boxes, each item will be like a miniature movie poster or book cover, and you’ll pick the one you want. The controller will also have Enter, Home, and Back buttons to help get around, and there will be “optional” game controllers.

Hollister goes on to say that Android TV will also support voice input and notifications, and will have the ability to suggest content to you based on your previous selections and watching behaviors. And it being Google, users will have access to a powerful search tool system-wide.

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The timing of this leak is certainly interesting, as the battle for the living room has really heated up in recent months. You have Amazon unveiling its new Fire TV last week, Apple’s rumored to be working on a new box of its own, and Roku’s pounding its chest, yelling to all of them ‘bring it!’

It’s hard to tell how far along Google is on the project, and whether it’s actually building the hardware itself or will be strictly licensing the Android TV platform out to manufacturers. Either way, Apple may want to hurry up and do something with this space before it gets too crowded.