Having left its Android TV Remote Control app languishing in the Play Store with no updates since 2017 and a 3.5 star rating, it looks like Google is preparing to replace it outright with a new remote control feature in the Google TV app.
Google TV is an update that rolled out to the Google Play Movies & TV app, which took on the new moniker, so the move will see the remote control app get a new lease on life within the revamped ecosystem.
XDA Developers' Mishaal Rahman found the feature (opens in new tab) in Google TV v 4.25, and while it's not been implemented yet, he managed to test it with a few devices, and reports that it's not compatible with Nvidia Shield TVs right now.
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Google is working on integrating the Android TV Remote Control app into the Google TV app. Here are some screenshots of the feature, which is not yet available in version 4.25. (Surprise, surprise...it's exactly as you'd expect.) pic.twitter.com/73iqX6FRJdMarch 2, 2021
Visually, there's not a lot going on, and it looks practically the same as the Android TV Remote Control app; there's a d-pad with navigation arrows, and that's about it. The app can find nearby devices to connect with, which you can select to kick off the pairing process. You'll need to enter a four-digit PIN code to complete the pairing process, and then you're good to go.
The feature isn't actually live yet, so unless you're digging around in the code, you won't have to worry about setting it up for now. Google hasn't commented on the new remote control functionality either, but it's almost certainly going to roll out in a not-too-distant Google TV update.
If Google gadgets are up your street, don't forget to swing by T3's best Chromecast devices to find the best gear for you.