updated 02:40 pm EDT, Sun October 27, 2013
KitKat seen as a move to control TVs
Google's forthcoming Android 4.4 KitKat update to its mobile operating system could spark the beginning of a wider movement by the search giant to carve out territory in the television market. A new report from ETNews says that Google will try to leverage Android's brand strength to succeed where its earlier Google TV efforts have so far failed. Google has already said that it worked to make KitKat scalable to more devices, including lower-power handsets, but the new reports seem to indicate that Google is also looking to expand Android's reach upward into televisions.
In early October, reports emerged that Google was looking to abandon the Google TV brand that is currently attached to its smart television efforts. Google TV-branded devices have greatly underperformed versus the company's lofty ambitions for the platform, with Apple's set-top box owning a much wider share of the streaming device market despite Google having more manufacturing partners. Those previous reports saw Google moving to Android TV as a brand, and a number of developers and manufacturers reported seeing materials referring to future television services as such.
Reportedly, Google's revamped effort at controlling the living room will feature a new user interface that has been dramatically improved. One major consumer complaint regarding the Google TV experience was the its convoluted interface. Whether Google has managed to simplify that is as yet unknown.
When Google's newest operating system will launch is also unknown. Android 4.4 was initially expected to debut at this year's Google I/O, but the company showed off neither a new operating system nor any new hardware. Subsequent speculation pegged the launch for mid-October, but rumored dates have come and gone. Current rumors have the reveal happening at the end of October, but Google has sent out no press invites or made any announcements.