One of the new technologies that caught the eye on the Sony booth at #MWC15 this week was our electronics teams’ latest 65”Class 4K Ultra HD BRAVIA® TV. It wasn’t just the amazingly clear picture on display, or the impossibly thin screen that turned a few heads, it was also the new Android TV™ operating system on show.
Seeing as not all of you will were lucky enough to be in Barcelona, let alone come by our booth, we thought we’d take a look at what Sony Android TV offers and how it integrates with our new Xperia™ Z4 Tablet.
BRAVIA TVs are already pretty smart, but Sony’s Android TVs have been designed to make your TV even smarter by finding new ways to sync with your Android smartphone*, tablet or laptop. It combines some of Sony’s unique features like One-Flick Entertainment, Photo Sharing Plus, etc, together with those of Android TV such as access to Google Play, Chrome and voice functionality to make those Sunday afternoons in front of the TV as easy as possible.
Sony Android TV also comes Google Cast™ Ready, meaning you can cast your favourite entertainment and apps like YouTubeTM, Google Play Movies, Chrome or Pandora™ (and a load more depending on your region) straight from your tablet on to the BRAVIA screen**, without the need of an external dongle.
Lost the remote or don’t fancy leaving the sofa? Not a problem. Once you’ve connected your device to your BRAVIA TV, your phone, tablet or laptop becomes the remote. With voice activated browsing, you can just speak the words Breaking Bad in to your Xperia Z4 Tablet and Sony Android TV will take you there.
You don’t have to be that person who quietly laughs at a funny clip on their phone anymore. With Sony Android TV you just have to flick the video from your device towards the TV and everyone in the room can laugh at the funny cat on a big screen with you.
We had the chance to catch up with the project leader for Sony Android TV, Seiichi Osao, who answered a couple of questions for us…
Talk us through the origins of Android TV; where did the concept come from and what were some of the challenges faced when designing it?
As a company, we’re always keen on looking at ways we can integrate cross-functionality throughout our technologies. The Android UI featured across our Xperia devices, and many other mobile handsets is functional, clear and easy to use. We wanted to bring this functionality and access to our BRAVIA line. The challenge was how we achieved that ease-of-use, which we tackled by developing a unique way of integrating touch gestures and audio controls on your smartphone/tablet with your large screen TV experience.
Why is Android TV so well suited to the Xperia Z4 Tablet?
Firstly, with both your BRAVIA and mobile devices on Android’s OS, you can use the same Google ID, so not only is the UI familiar, but switching between your TV and Z4 Tablet is easy, meaning you can pause a video on your BRAVIA and pick it back up again on your tablet straight away. The two product lines also share some of Sony’s best display and audio technology, like TRILUMINOS Display, X-Reality ClearAudio+.
Is Android TV easy to use? How simple is it to connect your Xperia Z4 Tablet to Android TV?
It’s really easy to use. The UI is intuitive, the voice commanding is easy to use and setting up is simple. Where previously you needed several steps to connect wirelessly or a bunch of cables to connect the two, now you don’t. With Android TV it’s just one step – just tap cast icon on apps, it will connect your Xperia Z4 Tablet to Android TV*.
*Running Android 4.4.2 or higher
**Images included in this post feature simulated UIs. App availability varies by region and device. Check out more of the apps that are available at www.google.com/castapps