Google is introducing version 11 of its Android TV platform. This version of the television operating system includes enhanced support for third-party game controllers and introduces the auto low latency mode.
In the announcement, Google says that Android 11 for Android TV will bring performance and privacy improvements, in addition to specific features for television. For example, there is extensive support for controllers, with specific mention of the Nintendo Switch Pro and the Steam controller. Nintendo’s controller supports Bluetooth and USB connections and Steam’s only supports the USB connection. Android TV already had support for Xbox and PlayStation controllers.
In addition, there will be support for the auto low latency mode, a function that is part of the HDMI 2.1 specification and is also often built in by TV manufacturers in the more expensive HDMI 2.0 televisions. Allm makes the television automatically switch to a picture mode with a low latency, whereby all image processing techniques are switched off. This is especially useful for playing games on the television. Developers can include support for this technique in their Android TV apps.
Furthermore, Android TV 11 introduces an extension for the hallimplementation of the HDMI-CEC protocol. Various devices can communicate with each other via HDMI-CEC, part of the HDMI standard. However, this does not always run smoothly, because manufacturers implement it in different ways. The HdmiControlService as part of the Android ecosystem should change that. Google says the solution has been tested with many HDMI-CEC devices already available in the market. The idea is that HDMI-CEC connects to hardware through the hall to simplify the differences in protocol handling.
Google says many of the aforementioned new features will also be part of the new Android TV version. This includes the Google Play Instant on TV functionality, which allows users to quickly open an app and try it out without having to install it first. Paying with a PIN was also mentioned, as well as improvements for Gboard TV, the software on-screen keyboard for Android TV. Whether these new features will all be implemented with version 11 is not clear.
When version 11 of Android TV will actually appear on televisions will depend on the speed of implementation at different manufacturers. Several manufacturers still use old Android TV versions for new TVs. For example, the Philips OLED TVs that TP Vision releases this year still run on Android 9 Pie, and that also applies to the recent Sony OLED TVs.