It’s been 3 years since the Google Nexus Player went on sale, but it’s still the only first-party Android TV box sold by Google (even if it was actually manufactured by Asus). While there are plenty of newer, more powerful Android TV devices on the market today, Google has continued to release software updates for the Nexus Player, bringing new features and security patches.
The latest update was ostensibly just a November security patch. But Android Police noticed it includes a bonus feature: Google Assistant support.
Google recently added Assistant support to its Android TV software and you can already use the company’s voice assistant on the NVIDIA Shield or some Sony TVs with Android TV software.
Now you can also use the included voice remote control or the Android TV Remote app on your phone to speak to the Nexus Player. Among other things, that means you can search for videos or launch apps by voice, ask for weather or news updates, or generally use the Nexus Player like a slightly less convenient Google Home smart speaker (less convenient because your TV needs to be on and you need to speak into a handheld microphone).
Google doesn’t actually sell the Nexus Player anymore, and if you’re in the market for a new Android TV box you’re probably better off spending $69 on a Mi Box or $179 on an NVIDIA Shield anyway. But it’s nice to know that there’s one less reason for folks who already have a Nexus Player to upgrade.