Google makes it easy for Android TV users to purchase apps, type using on-screen keyboard

Google is bringing several new features and feature improvements to the TV platform based on its popular mobile operating system, Android, Android TV.

The ability for Android TV users to purchase apps and games using a pin code instead of having to type the password associated with the Google account in use in full, is among the new features. This will take the strain of fumbling with the remote to type away since voice recognition, which comes in handy when searching for TV shows and movies to watch or YouTube content, can’t be used in such instances.

Knowing the pain of having to type on a TV, many a time using an accessory as crude as the remote controls bundled with most televisions and streaming boxes, Google is also improving the typing experience using the on-screen keyboard with enhancements to Gboard – now known as Gboard TV – by integrating speech-to-text and predictive typing.

As many have noted over the last few days, Google has also refreshed the Android TV home interface to include trending and “important” content.

Google Play Instant on TV, Android TV’s own take on Android Instant applications, will make it easier for users to sample apps without necessarily having to install them. This is particularly important since for many users, stuck with the limited storage space on the televisions (mostly up to a gigabyte) and media streaming boxes (between 4 and 8GB), usually have to make the painful decision of what to keep and what to discard in order to be able to install new apps.

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An auto-low latency mode will make sure that the gamer types are not at a disadvantage when playing online multiplayer games and first-person shooters where instant responses are literally the difference between life and (in-game) death.

These new features and feature improvements are part of the changes users can expect when Android 11 becomes available for Android TV later in the year if last year’s timelines are anything to go by.

Google announced the Android 11 Developer Preview on Android TV in late June while releasing test hardware to allow developers to prepare their applications for the upcoming new version of Android. According to Google, there are over 7,000 applications specifically made for Android TV on the Google Play Store.

Additionally, “There are now over 80% more Android TV monthly active devices than a year ago,” further underscoring the rising importance of Android TV in Google’s ecosystem.

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