If only six years ago someone mentioned Android, some of you would not have recognized the name of the operating system (OS). But as technology has advanced, today the name Android is widely recognized as a successful OS for smartphones, tablets, and increasingly for devices such as Smart TVs, set-top boxes, and in the years to come even smart glasses! The Android OS is installed in over 500 million devices worldwide and has a smartphone market share of 79%, according to Gartner research (Q2/2013)1.
Due to the improved user experience, open source system, simple and freely- accessed API, nowadays we are witnessing a shift regarding the Android OS from mobile devices and cameras to STBs and TVs. As with all devices with the Android OS, Android STBs can offer all applications to end-users via Google Play, if so requested by the Operator of its STB vendor. On their TVs, end-users can then enjoy playing games, reading and sending e-mails, engaging with friends via social media networks – all on a platform they are familiar with.
Forecasts for the TV services industry show that in the long term Smart TVs might very likely prevail2 over the TV-STB combination, due to improved design and simplicity for TV end-users, coupled with a decrease in costs for Operators as additional hardware is no longer needed when providing TV service. However, the transition from a Linux STB directly to a Smart TV cannot be achieved overnight. Operators should be aware that the transition may require two steps – first to Android STBs and then to Smart TVs, so that the end-user experience is adjusted while Operators are more likely to achieve their sales targets in the next few years.
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