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Android TV will focus on online media and games

We first heard rumors of Google’s new Android TV platform back in April, and a fresh report from GigaOm provides some extra details on what we can expect to see from the service. The platform will focus heavily on online content from the likes of Hulu and Netflix, as well as including a strong gaming component as it looks to take on the likes of the Amazon Fire TV in the battle for the living room.

As you’ll know if you’ve read our comprehensive rumor round-up, Android TV is expected to be unveiled at Google’s I/O developer conference taking place at the end of June. GigaOm says that “multiple sources familiar with Google’s plans” have confirmed that the platform is on its way.

The new software will take its cue from the card-based interface currently deployed everywhere from Google+ to Google Now. These cards will offer up links to movies, TV shows and music with individual app branding kept to a minimum — the idea is that users will see a consistent, uniform front-end powered by a variety of different apps and online data sources. GigaOm’s sources also say gaming will feature prominently.

This interface is known as ‘Pano’ inside Google, and references to it have been spotted in the changelog file for Android 4.4.3. Rather than launching individual apps and then browsing to the content, users will be able to sift through the available media right from the first screen. This approach has caused some friction with the content providers themselves, and it remains to be seen just how much of Google’s original vision is still intact.

It’s a crowded market, even within Google itself. The platform that was Google TV now appears to have morphed into Chromecast, and according to GigaOm the Android TV platform would work alongside the company’s plug-in dongle. Meanwhile the Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and many other boxes continue to provide stiff competition in the race to be the ultimate television platform.

[Image credit: The Verge]