Mad Google Is About To Mess Up Chromecast With An Apple TV Clone

Apr 8 2014, 6:44am CDT | by

Mad Google Is About To Mess Up Chromecast With An Apple TV Clone
Photo Credit: Forbes Apple

Google Chromecast

-Do you have Android TV?
-You mean Google TV?
-No, Android TV
-Chromecast?
-No Android TV!
-Apple TV?/>/>/>/>/>

Welcome to the mess Google is about to create. Having seemingly found the future of television leaks to The Verge suggest Google is about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by clubbing it over the head with a relic from the past. Worse still it is something Google has already tried and it failed abysmally.

If the leaks are to be believed this abomination will be called ‘Android TV’. It is a set top box powered by Android that comes with a remote control, plugs into your TV and provides access to Google services like YouTube, Play Music, Play Movies and Search as well as inviting developers to create apps for its ‘simple and intuitive’ user interface.

Under no circumstances should Android TV be confused with ‘Google TV’, the company’s previous failed set top box. Google TV was powered by Android, came with a remote control, plugged into your TV, provided access to Google services and Search and invited developers to create apps for its simple and intuitive user interface. Nor should Android TV be confused with existing set top boxes like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, WD TV, Popcorn Hour TV and others.

Sarcasm aside, under normal circumstances Google’s ‘if at first you don’t succeed’ approach would be admirable or at the very least show persistence. The thing is these are not normal circumstances.

The company had moved on from the Google TV debacle and come up with Chromecast. For those not in the know, Chromecast is a $35 HDMI dongle which plugs into your TV and removes the need for both a set top box and yet another remote control for your coffee table. With Chromecast whatever you are watching or listening to on your phone or tablet can be sent to your TV and then controlled by your phone or tablet. Leave the house and the content picks up on your device where you left off.

No new apps need to be coded for Chromecast because support can be added into the lorry load of Android media apps already available. You don’t even need an Android device since Chromecast is compatible with iPhones and iPads and Windows support is said to be in the pipeline.

“We are in the millions now, and it’s growing very actively,” said Sundar Pichai, Google SVP of Android and Chrome, when addressing Chromecast sales in early March. Chromecast was a US-only product at the time, but has now launched internationally. Neflix, Hulu, HBO, Pandora, Rdio, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Plex and VEVO head a rush of popular apps which have added Chromecast compatibility. Even rivals seem convinced by the concept and set top box veteran Roku released its knock-off ‘Streaming Stick’ (below) within a few months of Chromecast’s US release.

And now there is Android TV. Here to repeat the failed Google TV model, split the time and resources of developers committed to Chromecast, confuse consumers and create negative headlines for a product Google was getting right. A typical example is Atlanta Black Star’s Is Google Ditching Chromecast For Android TV? Meanwhile publications run ‘versus’ pieces discussing which Google product you should buy.

Self-sabotage is the most idiotic kind of sabotage and, given Chromecast’s enormous first mover advantage, rivals must think all their Christmases have come at once.

Of course there is a counterpoint to all this: Amazon. Held up as a poster boy for intelligent product expansion, Amazon just announced Fire TV which not only mimics Android TV and the failed Google TV, but is also based on Android. Given Amazon is famous for building products based on the wants and desires expressed by its millions of customers it is reasonable to suggest Google TV simply came too early and both Amazon and Google are getting back in the water at the right time.

/>/>

But no. As an online retailer Amazon is a very different animal to Google. Like its Fire tablets, the Fire TV is simply a delivery mechanism for purchasing Amazon content. It has partnered with Netflix, Hulu, ESPN and others but ultimately it is about Amazon’s wares being front and centre. Secondly whereas Google can drive Chromecast support through the core of Android, Amazon can only bolt it onto the forked version it ships with Fire products. Fire TV is a set top box because it was the next best option, Amazon can’t copy Chromecast well.

Neither could rivals. The major TV makers – Sony, LG and Samsung – are beholden to Android through phone and tablet contracts while Microsoft plays catch up from a long way back. Meanwhile Apple doesn’t usually let one product line cannibalise another, so while morphing Apple TV into a cheap AirPlay dongle to combat Chromecast is possible (and even sensible) losing a $99 product for one $50 or less when users are trapped within its ecosystem isn’t usually its style.

Yes all the pieces looked to be in place for Chromecast’s long term victory. But should Google go ahead with Android TV it will split developers, confuse customers and both it and Chromecast will fail. Albert Einstein defined insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. By this logic Android TV suggests Google is truly mad.

More on Forbes

Samsung Galaxy S5 Hands-On Review: Evolution Not Revolution Gives Hope To Rivals

HTC One (M8) Hands-on Review: First Impressions Suggest Stiff Competition For The Samsung Galaxy S5

Nexus 5: After Three Months Of Use, It’s The Best All-Around Android Phone

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Fitbit Not Expected To Work With Healthkit
Fitbit Not Expected To Work With Healthkit
Apple’s new health tracking App won’t connect to Fitbit devices
 
 
Retailers Dropping NFC Readers To Stop Apple Pay
Retailers Dropping NFC Readers To Stop Apple Pay
Merchants are removing support for Apple Pay
 
 
AT&amp;T Showing Lack Of Vision With New SIM Cards
AT&T Showing Lack Of Vision With New SIM Cards
The company has busted the Apple SIM cards meant for travelers
 
 
The Stores of CVS and Rite Aid Stop Supporting Apple Pay
The Stores of CVS and Rite Aid Stop Supporting Apple Pay
CVS and Rite Aid are not accepting the service of Apple Pay from the last weekend
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Benedict Cumberbatch: Sherlock can't have sex
Benedict Cumberbatch says Sherlock Holmes doesn't have sex - because he's more interested in crime. The 38-year-old British actor was catapulted to global fame playing a modern version of the fictional detective in the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Melissa McCarthy was robbed at gunpoint
Melissa McCarthy was robbed at gunpoint when she moved to California. The 'Bridesmaids' actress was working at a dry cleaners on a quiet street in Santa Monica when she first moved to Hollywood to pursue a movie career...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Russell Brand: I wish I was bisexual
Russell Brand wishes he was bisexual. The 39-year-old comedian - who was married to Katy Perry for 14 months until December 2011 - has confirmed he is single at the moment but is keen to experiment more with his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Woman saves Indian from Bangladeshis' captivity in Baharin
Manama, Oct 28 (IANS) An Indian, allegedly tortured and held hostage in Bahrain by five Bangladeshis for a paltry BHD800 ransom (about $2,000), was rescued with the help of his co-worker, an Indonesian woman, in an...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Billiards: Bhaskar shocks Gilchrist, joins Advani in semis
Leeds, Oct 28 (IANS) For long the bridesmaid in Indian billiards, Balachandra Bhaskar, the 43-year-old from Bangalore, authored a big upset when he knocked out defending champion Peter Gilchrist 797-586 to enter the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
WHO welcomes approval of Ebola vaccine trial in Switzerland
Geneva, Oct 28 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) Tuesday welcomed the approval of a Swiss regulatory authority for a trial with an experimental Ebola vaccine at the Lausanne University Hospital. According to...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Indian in US gets 15 years in jail for backing Hezbollah
New York, Oct 28 (IANS) An Indian citizen residing illegally in the US has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly trying to provide material support to Hezbollah, a designated foreign terrorist...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Another body recovered from sunken South Korean ferry
Seoul, Oct 28 (IANS/EFE) South Korean rescue teams Tuesday recovered one of the 10 bodies still missing from the Sewol ferry which sunk off the country's southwest coast April 16 this year leaving 304 people dead, most...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Iraqi Kurdish force moves to help fight IS militants in Kobane
Baghdad, Oct 28 (IANS) A group of Iraqi Kurdish fighters, known as Peshmerga, headed Tuesday to the Syrian border town of Kobane via Turkey to help local Kurdish people who have been struggling to fend off attacks by...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Al Qaeda affiliate seizes seven villages in Syria
Beirut, Oct 28 (IANS/EFE) The Nusra Front, Al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, has seized seven villages in the northern Syrian province of Idlib over the past few hours, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported...
Read more on Politics Balla