After aggressively pushing both products over the last couple of years, Google has confirmed that Android TV and Google TV have a combined total of 80 million active devices.
This statement is notable for three reasons. First of all, this is the only time since its 2014 launch that Google has officially confirmed a number associated with Android TV devices.
Secondly, Google was estimated to achieve somewhere around 50 million active devices this time last year. If the estimates of the time were correct, that means that the company has seen its user base increase by around 60% in less than a year’s time.
Third, it invites comparison between Google’s growth and that of both Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku, admirable foes who have not been as shy about their numbers with both companies experiencing around a 40% growth over the last year.
There’s no doubt that the pandemic has resulted in a huge surge of demand for ways to be entertained while stuck indoors and, with companies continually jockeying for attention with rival streaming platforms and devices, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight with regard to victory on the battlefield.
Roku currently counts the lion’s share of its users in the U.S., whereas most Android TV users are in Asia. While Google was characteristically tight lipped about its numbers stateside, the company did reveal that Android TV OS has grown more than 80% domestically, a statement that will surely result in some anxiety from Roku and Amazon alike.
It’s not just the numbers that have put Google in Roku’s crosshairs as of late. The expiration of the search engine giant’s contract with Roku has resulted in not only YouTube TV’s removal from the platform, but also a very public feud in which Roku accused Google of both “predatory” and “monopoly” behavior by “attempting to use its YouTube monopoly position to force Roku into accepting predatory, anti-competitive and discriminatory terms that will directly harm Roku and our users.”
Amusingly, Google found a petty but effective workaround for their exile from Roku by simply providing a back door to the service via the standard YouTube app, which was not affected by the deal between the companies. While the app continues to be present on Roku devices, the company has since referred to Google once more as an “unchecked monopolist.”
Regardless of the corporate name calling, Google looks to continue to grow its device user base. The first Sony products including Google TV were launched recently, and Walmart is poised to release a new Android TV device offering 4K content at an unbeatable price aimed squarely at Amazon’s Fire Stick. The news of the 4K device follows an earlier reveal of what looks to be an even less expensive streaming option in the form of an Android TV dongle.