Android TV is poised to bring the mobile industry more firmly into the living room of mainstream electronics consumers. The new Android platform is slated to be incorporated by original equipment manufacturers into dongles, set-top boxes and smart TVs.
Mobile users have already had a taste of casting content from their mobile devices to other set-top players and televisions, and consumers have demonstrated a strong interest in that capability. Streaming content will sync between Android TV and compatible devices, further building strong ties between mobile usage and entertainment in front of the television.
Building from Chromecast
Many consumers first experienced casting from a mobile phone or tablet when they used their devices to send content to a Chromecast connected to a television. Chromecast is the HDMI dongle for streaming content from the Internet to a television. Rather than wielding a traditional remote control, users control their Chromecast directly from a computer or a mobile device. The various Android TV products will have this capability in addition to using TV remotes and gamepads. The new platform will also include expanded features for playing games and accessing the available apps.
Casting and syncing are likely to continue to be popular activities. Users who are already familiar with the controls on their Android device apps will be comfortable casting content to their Android TVs. In addition to television and movie content, users also tend to enjoy streaming music. Because many mobile device owners use their Android tablets and phones as MP3 players, the devices will have built-in convenience for casting audio to their Android TVs.
When users begin to see more apps available for use on both their mobile devices and on the Android TV, the expectation will be for nearly all of them to be readily accessible on both. Android enthusiasts will naturally be curious to see how their favorite mobile apps look and feel on a large screen when they are home. With app development that adheres to smart strategies for functionality on a large screen, the apps should transition smoothly from usage on a mobile device to usage on a television.
Development according to television scale
The Google standards for layout, in-app searching and navigation will help developers of apps to maintain consistency in the Android TV experience. A good experience for users is naturally going to improve the ratings apps receive from consumers. Once developers inevitably take advantage of the opportunity to add Android TV to their projects, they will first have to keep in mind how apps designed originally for a mobile device will appear on a TV screen.
The need to be sparing with text and to pay attention to font sizing and color will be prevalent lessons as developers adapt. In particular, they will have to consider layout-relative sizing of text and use colors that are easier to read on a television screen. More than just providing standards, explanatory previews help developers to grasp the reasoning behind the standards, and the developer preview provides conceptual guidance on redesigning apps and games for a big screen.
Something developers might want to consider is the opening of new markets for Android apps that will result from the usage of this new platform. While the Android OS has the dominant position in the mobile market, a new platform creates opportunities to introduce consumers to apps they might not have noticed or contemplated previously. A new platform to discover apps creates another venue from which developers can present their work.
Once enough buzz about the platform has been generated, developers might also find themselves designing for Android TV first and mobile devices second. They could also, perhaps, design concurrently moving forward. The opportunities inherent with the living room electronics market are lucrative, which is why Google develops for it. Depending on the market potential of their apps, many developers might find it worthwhile to rethink their strategies accordingly.