Google TV


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Google has released an update to their Google TV software that includes a new user interface and support for the Android Market. More importantly, it is now a good platform for developers to kick the tires of this product.

Google TV devices can be used by developers with the same development tools like any other Android device. Google TV includes support for TV-specific features like changing channels and has removed some Android features that don’t make sense for a TV like touchscreen capabilities.

Currently, there aren’t many apps designed specifically for Google TV. Many of the current Google TV apps are existing Android apps that have been ported to work on TV’s. This is a good opportunity for developers to get their apps exposed to Google TV users before the market gets too crowded.

This does assume that developers think Google TV will succeed. The first release of Google TV was not well received and had various usability and stability issues. Recently, Logitech announced that they will stop making the Logitech Revue which was one of the first Google TV devices. However, there have also been recent announcements from LG and Samsung that they will be introducing their own Google TV devices in 2012. There have also been rumors that several cheaper ARM based devices will be released in 2012.

Google has not abandoned Google TV as they have done with so many other projects during 2011. The latest update from Google includes major improvements to the user interface. They have also introduced Google+ hangouts with Google TV engineers and product managers to answer developers questions. They also have a forum for Google TV which are moderated by Google TV folks.

As a consumer device, Google still needs to do more work. Premium content, especially TV content is lacking. YouTube is doing some interesting things with their new channels, but it will take time to see if it will be successful.

For developers, not only are there opportunities for TV-specific apps, but also for apps that work across various Android devices. For example, an Android mobile device could be used as a remote control for a Google TV device. Google has released a protocol to do just that. But there are many other interesting apps that could leverage Android across devices.

And this is where we are looking at product ideas for Google TV. Our first app will be a remote control app for Google TV, called Able Remote, that will run on Android mobile devices. We also have other interesting ideas that will run across devices, but we firstly want to gauge the interest in the remote control app before investing too much time in Google TV as a platform.

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