Google I/O 2022: Improved Picture-in-Picture Mode, New Features Coming to Android TV as Users Cross 110 Million


Android TV now has over 110 million monthly active users (MAU), Google revealed at its annual developer conference on Thursday. The company has announced several new features and tools coming to the next versions of Google TV and Android TV that are aimed at improving performance and quality, while improving accessibility and enabling multitasking. While Google is yet to reveal the release date for Android TV 13, the company recently provided access to the second Android 13 beta for Android TV ahead of Google I/O 2022.

According to a post on the Android Developers blog, Android TV and Google TV are currently available on devices of more than 300 partners globally — accounting for 7 out of 10 smart TV OEMs and over 170 ‘pay TV’ (or subscription television) operators. Android TV OS now has over 110 million MAU and offers over 10,000 apps, according to the company. Google is also encouraging developers to integrate platform features like the WatchNext API (application programming interface) into their apps.

A new expanded picture-in-picture mode is coming with the Android 13 update for Android TV
Photo Credit: Google Developers Blog


As part of the Android 13 update for Android TV, developers can use the AudioManager to ‘anticipate’ audio routes to better understand which playback modes are available. The company is also bringing improvements to multitasking in the form of an updated picture-in-picture (PiP) API, which uses the same API as Android smartphones. Google first introduced official support for PiP mode with Android 8. With the new, updated PiP mode, users will be able to access an expanded mode that shows more videos from a group call.

Android TV will also gain support for a docked mode to prevent PiP windows covering content in other apps by seating them separately on the edge of the display. Meanwhile, a ‘keep-clear’ API will let developers specify important parts of full-screen apps that should not be covered by PiP windows. On the accessibility front, the OS will add support for different keyboard layouts including QWERTZ and AZERTY, and users will be able to enable audio descriptions across apps.

With the upcoming Android 13 update, users can expect to see user and children profiles, allowing for personalised recommendations for each viewer. The update is also expected to bring support for using a smartphone as a Google TV remote to move around and control volume, type using the phone’s keyboard or activate the Google Assistant. Users will also be able to seamlessly cast content to Google TV, a feature that has been supported on Android TV via Chromecast.

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