Google has announced that its casting technology app for IOS and Android has been officially rebranded as Google Cast instead of Chromecast. The app functions mainly as a set up wizard for Chromecast devices as well as an easy portal to Google Cast compatible apps. The rebranding has been a long-time-coming as the company has supported a number of other decices besides the Chromecast since the introduction of its Android TV platform beggining with the rollout of the Google Nexus player as well as integrated Android TV systems. Products have been marketing themselves using phrazes like “it has a chromecast instide” which really confuses the matter. The key for Google is the casting not the Chromecast itself which is nothing more than a handy reciever for wireless devices and computers.
So starting shortly users will be able to download a new Google Cast app for their devices. While the app will have the same name the function will remain the same. It’s ability to remain platform nutral could prove very popular with Smart TV manufacturers. VIZIO is rolling out a new line of TV’s with Google Cast built in as it’s main app access. Otherwise the TV will operate like a TV with no smart features. This means that users will not download apps to their sets through an interface like Android TV, WebOS or any other GUI.
Is this bad news for Android TV?
Android TV is an intergal part of a recently introduced line of Sony TV’s and was featured on many sets at the 2016 CES but the introduction of TV’s that eschew the more immersive UI in favor of the minimalist approach of a Google Cast reciever should be discouraging to any app developers who have bet on Android TV as a wide spread smart TV solution as apposed to a platform tied to consoles like The NVIDIA Shield, Nexus Player or Razer Forge. It bears watching to see if more Android TV models will be announced. Currently Sony boasts 8 Android TV powwered models which integrate both smart apps and its game service. Sharp debuted two Android TV powered sets in 2015 but neither the UE30 or the UH30 is available at a major big box store, though they are out there with smaller sellers and Phillips manufactures a few models though currently there are none available in the US according to representatives from the company. As more companies move prioritise their own smart TV interfaces we have to wonder if the platform will grow going forward or meet the same fate as its predecessor Google TV.