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Google embeds Android TV remote app into Android phones

Sometimes, it’s the little things that count. Today at Google I/O 2021, the company announced that its remote app for Android TV will be built into the Android OS for smartphones.

The move follows Apple’s decision to embed Apple TV remote functionality into the Control Center on iOS, instead of requiring that Apple TV owners install and launch a dedicated remote app.

Demonstration animation of Android TV remote built into the Android OS for smartphones

Much like the existing stand-alone Android TV remote app, you’ll be able to use the embedded version to navigate an Android TV interface with swipe and tap gestures, and use your phone’s native keyboard for text entry. This is a far better way to enter email addresses and passwords when required versus the horrible hunt-and-peck procedure that you’d normally have to do via your Android TV’s physical remote.

The new remote feature will roll out later this year, and Google says it will work instantly for the more than 80 million monthly active Android TV OS devices, including Google TV.

One of the devices that the remote will be able to control is the Chromecast with Google TV, a $50 streaming media device that Google launched late in 2020. It will also be able to control Android TVs made by Sony, Hisense, and TCL.

Android TV has seen a rapidly increasing adoption in the last two years, with more than 80% growth in the U.S. Google’s decision to start updating the stock Android TV interface with the new Google TV experience is a sure sign the company is bullish on the platform’s future prospects.

Google TV works with virtually all of the streaming apps supported by Android TV, but adds a curated view of content, combined with personalized features such as recommendations, watch lists, and continue watching options, which the standard Android TV interface does not have.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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