It’s Google’s general support for products that make me worry long term. We’ve seen it launch numerous things over the years that simply haven’t lasted. It appears, from the outside, that it isn’t good at sticking with things, preferring the corporate dopamine hit of announcing some sexy new thing, before cancelling it shortly after. Android Auto could soon be getting a much-requested Tesla feature. But that aside, the figures are impressive. Half of all the TVs sold in the world will have smart features by 2026, according to FlatPanelsHD. By that same point, the US will have adoption of 90% and Europe over 80%. Right now global adoption is a shade under 40%, with the US currently at 70% and Europe at around 65%. Android TV on its own will reach 25% by 2026 according to some figures.
Android TV, one of Google’s offerings, has been making major inroads in the smart TV industry. Despite some early disappointments, such as my parents’ Sony TV, which utilised the platform and was a complete failure. As is characteristic of Google, it has caused some unneeded market confusion. The core platform is Android TV, but Google has also developed Google TV, which is essentially an app in its own right that integrates a variety of additional services, such as smart suggestions using artificial intelligence. This implies it now has Google TV and Android TV, but they do not compete. Google does this all the time, which is why it has anything from two to 356 messaging applications.
Android TV and it’s premium overlay Google TV, are clearly needed by the market. For many manufacturers developing a new platform and then getting streaming companies to support it would be a mountain too high to scale. So turning to Google and using Android apps on your TV makes a lot of sense. While Samsung and LG have both invested in their own smart tv platforms, companies like Sony simply haven’t seemed interested in the enormity of the task. Sony may have been hurt somewhat by early crappy implementations of Android TV, which really were a nightmare. But it looks like things have settled a bit now and have helped boost Android TV to new heights.
Amazon also participates in this market, and while some people don’t like it, I think FireTV equipped sets from the likes of JVC are actually decent. They’re often amazing value propositions, giving access to the major streaming apps on a TV that costs just a few hundred quid. Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited about how tech can make your life better. Ian is the editor of T3.com.