We all know that Android tablets aren't exactly the industry benchmark, and Google has mostly stopped creating first-party products for this market. But the company still hasn't given up on tablets. It has just announced an "Entertainment Space" that should make Android tablets vastly better at giving you access to your streaming services, ebooks, and games — right on the leftmost panel of your homescreen.
Google started rolling out a redesigned, Google TV-inspired facelift for the Android TV homescreen earlier this year, and now, that new interface is finally finding its way to Sony's Android TV sets. According to 9to5Google, the manufacturer is sending out emails to owners, telling them that their "Sony Android TV just got a whole lot better."
YouTube TV aims to be a one-stop-shop for all of your entertainment needs, bundling streaming add-ons like HBO Max and Showtime into its collection of live channels. Not everyone wants to subscribe to a million different services, of course. If you prefer buying or renting new releases over signing up for a new subscription, YouTube TV has you covered. Any movie you've purchased or rented from YouTube or Google Play will now appear within the Library tab across all of your devices.
Earlier this month, Google announced new parental tools would finally be coming to all Google TV devices, beginning with its latest Chromecast, and the company has kept to its word. New child profiles are starting to appear for users in the US, improving how kid-friendly content is managed on its streaming software.
Google’s new Chromecast dongle has had its fair shareof issues, but none has been as vexing as Netflix refusing to play nicely with the device — which, ironically, has a dedicated Netflix button on the remote. More recently, things have started to change as Netflix is back to integrating well with Google TV’s core functions, just as it did earlier — but there are some parts that aren’t back on track just yet.
The Chromecast with Google TV has a lot more capability than previous Chromecasts, thanks to its new Android TV-based interface. Google is looking to expand its powers further with new software updates, which should also apply to other Google TV hardware (whenever it arrives). The company announced new tools for managing what kids watch, and how long they can watch it.
Google's latest Chromecast was announced last year and heralded the eventual transition of Android TV to Google TV. But unlike custom skins, this new interface — with features like the Live tab and better Assistant integration — is also being made available to third-party TV manufacturers like Sony and TCL. We're now learning that these sets will also ship with a Basic TV mode that strips them of their smartness.
It's been more than two years since Amazon Music made its first appearance on Android TV, but at the time, the service was restricted to the Nvidia Shield TV. That is no longer the case, as the app is now available for all Google TV and Android TV sets, set-top boxes, consoles, and soundbars.
If you thought the Android phone market was fragmented and many phones were outdated, take a look at the Android TV landscape and be shocked. Many devices are still running outdated versions, and Android 11 has barely reached any TV so far. But Google is already going full steam ahead with Android TV 12 — the company has released the developer preview in tandem with the mobile version of the OS.