“TVs are primarily entertainment interfaces,” engineering director Dave Burke said as he introduced AndroidTV to developers at the Google I/O conference today. The company wants app makers to support its effort to tightly integrate Android phone and app capabilities to TV navigation. For example, those with AndroidTV supported sets or set top boxes will be able to use a smartphone or watch to make search commands, including by voice, tailored for TV: If you ask for Breaking Bad, then it will offer to play an episode available for streaming, and provide info about stars. Users also can find programming by making indirect search requests: It can call up Oscar nominated movies from a particular year, or find actors from inquiries about the parts they play. Sony’s 2015 Ultra HD 4K TVs will support the platform as will next year’s models from Sharp and TP Vision. Others on board include Marvell, Intel, and Qualcomm — and Razer and Asus plan to make AndroidTV set top boxes.
Noting that Android phone users check the devices 125 times a day, the company raised the bar in smart watches — a market that Apple’s expected to enter this year. Google’s Androidwear software can respond to voice commands, tell you your heart rate, and provide information tied to what’s on your calendar or where you are. It knows when you’re at home to offer ordinary for reminders. If you’re traveling it can provide flight status, a boarding pass, and weather forecast at the destination.