While Google's Android OS has become a giant in the smartphone industry, it's failed to catch on in other form factors. Android TV is one case in point; announced in 2014, the OS for TVs and set top boxes has remained a bit player in the Android ecosystem. This year, Google is trying to get more app makers to target the platform with a particularly juicy hook: an Android TV dongle running Android P, offered exclusively to developers.
This 4K-capable Android TV device was actually spotted by eagle-eyed news outfit Ausdroid last month when it passed through the FCC in the United States. At that time, Android Central and other sites speculated that the device might be offered for public sale, along the same lines as the popular Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra dongles. However, now it appears that the device will be available exclusively to developers, as Google leaves the hard work of building consumer-ready devices to its plethora of hardware partners.
With Google's official announcement, more information about the Android TV device has been revealed, including its official name: the ADT-2 Developer Device. The device's internal hardware seems unchanged from initial reports, including an Amilogic S905X processor, 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Google have stated that performance is the watchword for the past year of Android TV development, so hopefully the device will run smoothly with these modest specifications. The ADT-2 also comes with a remote, allowing it to be used with Google Assistant.
The ADT-2 unsurprisingly runs the latest version of Android TV out of the box, based on Android P. You'll notice changes from past Android TV devices immediately, as Google have streamlined the setup process with automatic detection of nearby Android phones and better support for setup via mobile, laptop and desktop browsers. Users are prompted to install Android TV versions of apps already on their phone, with passwords being remembered between Android devices. Considered together, Google estimate that setup time should be shortened by a third.
If you're interested in getting an ADT-2 of your very own, whether you're a developer or just interested enough in the platform to pose as one, you can request a unit from Google by filling in the sign-up form here. Expect existing Android developers to get priority here, and don't be surprised if you're asked to pay a nominal fee for your unit either — only Google I/O attendees are expected to get a free device.
Of course, you don't need to have any specific physical hardware to run the Android P Preview SDK, which comes complete with a TV emulator. Perhaps you'll even be able to install it on your Chrome OS machine once Google's recently announced Linux support for Chrome OS is more widely available!
Have you signed up for an ADT-2 developer kit? Let us know in the comments below.
Body image source: Google