Google TV prepares a customizable remote button and call notifications


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Android 14 is on its way to Android TV and Google TV, and we’ve already rounded up a lot of the new features that are already live. But, alongside that, it seems Google TV is also preparing support for a few other features, including a customizable remote button.

Hiding under the surface in Android TV OS 14’s Google TV build is support for a new customizable remote button. This new “star” button shows up as a “shortcut” in Google TV that can open the app of your choice or switch inputs on your TV.

This functionality has been in development for quite some time, with a 2021 build of Google TV for the Chromecast showing this option and even a near-identical UI to the one that’s been uncovered in Android 14. Notably, the Chromecast was seemingly originally supposed to ship with a button like this, as some leaked prerelease marketing materials showed.

The trouble here is that, currently, there are no Google TV remotes with this “star” button. It’s not on Chromecast with Google TV, not on Walmart’s Onn box, or even more button-heavy remotes from Hisense, TCL, Sony, and others. Perhaps this is for a future Chromecast? For now, we just don’t know for sure, but we did report earlier this year that a new Chromecast is in the pipeline.

Beyond that, Mishaal Rahman also undercovered a couple of other features that are in development for Google TV. This includes a new headphones section for Google TV’s quick settings menu. We don’t know what it looks like yet, but it can apparently “show available headphones.”

Further, call notifications also appear to be in the works. Rahman found snippets that show that “supported apps” will be able to deliver notifications when a call is incoming. This respects user profiles and would seemingly work for apps such as Google Meet. The timing here is notable, too, as Apple is adding FaceTime support to tvOS in its next release.

When enabled, you can receive calls from supported apps on this device. To adjust preferences for call notifications for individual apps, please refer to the settings in the respective apps. Call notifications only show while you are in your personal user profile on this TV. You can adjust this setting in other profiles, to also receive calls when those profiles are active.

Google TV’s Android 14 builds have just started this week, with a final release likely to come late in 2023. It’s unknown when the update would actually make its debut on retail hardware, as major system updates just aren’t as important for Android TV and Google TV.

Dylan Roussel and Kyle Bradshaw contributed to this article.

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