Android TV was supposed to be more streamlined with a “no skin” policy but TVs continue to run at least one year behind schedule. Google has released Android 9 Pie but last year’s Android 8 Oreo has yet to make it to buyers’ TVs.
A previous version of the article's headline posited that not a single Android TV has been updated to Oreo yet. We have since been made aware that at least one recent Hisense TV runs Oreo in the US, and possibly a Sharp TV in Japan. The headline has been changed to reflect this fact. In addition, the 2 first paragrahps have been edited.
Old cookies and pie
If you own Nvidia Shield or Xiaomi Mi TV you may or may not have received the Android 8 Oreo update but if you own an Android TV from Sony, Philips, TCL or any other brand, you are most likely still running Android 7 or something even older.
The release of Android 9 Pie accentuates the frustrating fact that even top-of-the-line TVs continue to run outdated software. The new version has arrived before Android TVs from major brands have been updated to last year’s version.
So what are the manufacturers saying? Well, Sony’s upcoming A9F and Z9F will be the first TVs to run Android 8 Oreo and Sony has promised to make Oreo available for at least some of its existing TVs but has yet to announce details and a timeline. Philips has also vowed to bring Oreo to its TVs but we are still awaiting further details and a timeline. Bang & Olufsen is not updating any of its Android TVs and TCL has not announced anything relating to Oreo as far as we are aware. We will ask for a status update once again during IFA in Berlin.
Of course, none of them are eager to talk about Android 9 Pie yet but Google says that the latest version will streamline the setup process; automatically install TV apps that you use on mobile Android; and feature auto-login on TV. Android 9 is also said to include performance improvements, especially for Android TVs with slow hardware – which would be all of them.
It stands to be seen whether Oreo can breathe new life into Google’s TV project and whether Pie will make everything run more smoothly. The Android TV platform is currently lagging significantly behind platforms such as Apple TV (tvOS), Amazon FireTV, and Roku.
Fingers crossed that all owners get a piece of pie.