Google released a set of software tools on Monday that will allow developers to create Android applications for Google TV devices. Back at Google I/O it was announced that a future update would move the Google TV platform over to a build based around Android Honeycomb.
Along with the overhauled interface would come the Android Market, a feature promised since Google TV first hit the scene last year. While it is unclear when the Honeycomb update will eventually be pushed to old devices (and come installed on new devices).
With the new tools, developers can test their existing mobile or tablet Android applications in a big-screen environment, eventually porting them over to run on Google TV. It’s also possible to create new Android applications made specifically for Google TV.
With the add-on you can test your apps to determine if they would be a good fit for TV and whether any tweaks are required.
The preview will allow developers to emulate the GTV ecosystem to test and develop apps for the television platform. Along with the preview comes new features specific to televisions, such as the ability to call up channel lineups. Google warns that apps calling for non-television features such as a touchscreen won’t show up when the Android Market is accessed from a Google TV box and encourages developers with apps currently in the market to test their software for compatibility with the platform. Google admits it expects few apps available at launch, but hopes this early preview will jumpstart interest from developers.
Google’s “smart TV” platform received much attention and critical praise after debuting it at the I/O developer conference last year. But after major networks began to block online versions of their content to Google TV set top boxes right around the time of Google TV’s launch, the product failed to catch on widely with consumers. So much so that Logitech, one of the largest manufacturers of Google TV set top boxes, reported “slightly negative” revenues for its Revue Google TV units, as product returns outpaced sales in the second quarter.
Still, Google has a chance to bolster the Google TV platform’s following by cross-breeding it with Android, a platform with a far stronger fan base.
Google TV devices will be Android compatible after an upcoming Android OS update to version 3.0 (Honeycomb).