Monday, August 22, 2022

Google to push increased onboard storage on Google TV devices

One of the things I absolutely do not like about Chromecast with Google TV is the limited onboard storage of the device.

I've ranted about this before. A couple of times, actually.

Here's the problem.

Chromecast with Google TV comes with 8 GB onboard storage. That's four times what you get on a Roku Ultra, by the way. But there's a catch. Google TV (also Android TV) devices can get full, and won't let you add more apps once the device is full. Or, more likely, if the app you're trying to add exceeds the amount of available storage. That's not good.

To deal with this, you have to remove an app. Maybe more than one, if the app you're wanting is really large. But you have to do it before you can add the new app.

Most streaming devices have this problem. Amazon's Fire TV devices can encounter this as well. Same with Apple TV devices. However, those devices, particularly the Apple TV devices, have a lot more storage. And that's what Google is wanting from their devices, according to NextTV:

Google met with manufacturing partners who use its TVOS products last month at a closed-door event, discussing ways to optimize their gadgets for the pending release of Android 13.

Google encouraged a number of new features, including integration of connected TV devices with fitness trackers, as well as support for Bluetooth 5.0.

The push for additional memory comes amid rancor in the tech press late last spring that Google's own Chromecast with Google TV device and its 8GB of random access memory isn't up to the task of handling Android 13.

"8GB of storage was not enough for a streaming stick in 2020, and it’s even worse a couple of years later," 9to5 Google lamented. "This is restrictive enough for security updates, but it also limits how often Google can address bugs and other quirks that may arise. Worse yet, it also prevents any form of major system update -- or at least makes it much more difficult."

Google can handle things with the next release of Chromecast devices. I assume they will, after urging other manufacturers to do that. And it would be good for Google and those other manufacturers to increase the onboard store.

But this brings up a question: why doesn't Roku have this problem? After all, they have the least amount of onboard storage.

Well, quite simply, Roku handles things for you. When the onboard storage is full, Roku will remove an app from your device, but leave it in the list of installed apps. The name and icon for the app is there, even though the app isn't actually on the device. There's nothing to indicate the app isn't on the device. When you go to launch that app, the system will download it -- you'll see a quick progress bar (circle, actually) that goes to 100% -- and the app will launch. Mere seconds is all it takes. It's almost seamless. If not for the 2 seconds or so that the download window appears, you wouldn't even know it.

So, Google, Amazon, and Apple make you remove apps when the device gets full. And Google is the one that does this the most. When you remove the app, it's no longer listed on the device, and you have to search for it and re-download it in order to launch it.

With Roku, it manages everything for you, and the app is still on your menu.

That's actually a better way of doing it, in my opinion. But, if Google does increase onboard storage, and gets other manufacturers to do the same, that will make the Streaming Life of many people so much better.

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