Google announces Android TV hardware from Sony and Sharp at I/O

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We've had a good idea about what Google's Android TV will look like since April, but the big question has what kind of devices it will ship on. Google already makes a video streaming stick in the form of the Chromecast, so how will it — and others — go with Android TV hardware? Google answered that question at its developer conference I/O today, with new hardware that will run the set top entertainment operating system.

On stage, Google announced (but did not show off) upcoming 2015 TV sets from Sony, Sharp, TPVision, and Phillips will have Android TV built in. Razer and Asus also plan to make set top streaming boxes that can be added to existing TV sets, with Razer calling its model (pictured below) a "micro-console." Along with these efforts, Google said it's working with Qualcomm, Nvidia, Intel, Broadcom, and others to help push the new version of its home entertainment service.

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Android TV shares a lot in common with Amazon's Fire TV, which came out in April and also relies on Google's Android software to power a diminutive set top box. Android TV's markedly simple interface for apps and games also resembles parts of Google's Play Store, which Android users should be very familiar with. Today Google also said that Android TV can double as a streamer for its Cast feature, letting users hunt for things on their mobile devices or in the Chrome browser, then get it up and running on the TV.

This isn't Google's first try at TV

This is Google's latest go at the living room. Four years ago, the company unveiled Google TV, which was effectively Android and Google's Chrome browser that ran on TV sets. Then in 2012, Google introduced the Nexus Q, a wireless receiver for audio and video that relied on mobile devices like phones and tablets to stream content over. Google delayed the device, and later ended up deciding not to sell it. The company has since come out with the Chromecast, which does many of the same things as the Nexus Q, but in a $35 HDMI dongle.

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