Philips has become the first major television brand to get behind Android in a big way. In 2014, the company will release a range of TVs that will be in-part powered by Google’s operating system and also offer extensive access to the Play Store.
The smart TV platform developed by Philips has not been abandoned. In fact, it will run alongside Android, providing access to a range of apps in addition those available in Google Play.
Although Android has appeared on smart TVs before, these have tended to be products from less well known manufacturers. Perhaps the most prominent example in Europe is the Turkish company Vestel, who have marketed Android TVs using brands such as Finlux.
Up until now, major TV manufacturers have focussed on developing their own rival smart TV platforms. From their perspective, this approach has offered a degree of control and customisation, as well as the potential to monetise at a later date.
Another reason that major TV manufacturers have steered clear of Android is concerns about its boot time and stability. It is unlikely that consumers would be prepared to compromise in either area when it comes to purchasing a TV.
The Philips name is well known throughout the world, although the new Android TVs on show as part of CES are not really products of the famous Dutch company. Back in 2011, Philips made plans to heavily reduce its own involvement in TV manufacturing, agreeing to form a new company with Hong Kong-based TPV Technology.
TP Vision now manufacturers TVs under the Philips brand. The new company is 70 percent owned by TPV Technology, with Philips holding the remaining 30 percent stake.
The new Android TVs will be available in selected European markets, including Russia, from March 2014, before making their way to the UK later in the year.