We heard in April that Google was preparing to improve its connected TV, “revamping” the product with a faster chipset and upgraded UI, as well as Android app availability. Now we’re getting a look at that product, via Geek, which got an early look at a developer release.
Right away you can see that the new interface looks a lot like Honeycomb. In actuality, it’s Google TV 2.0 beta, or a simplified take on Android 3.1 Ice Cream Sandwich. Keep in mind, this is a very early release and there are likely to be more preinstalled apps, but for the time being there is a clock app, a live TV app, and Chrome browser. Apparently, how exactly the live TV function will work is still up in the air, and something Google’s keeping close to its chest. For the moment, live TV can only be accessed via the HDMI port. Live TV can work behind the home screen, allowing users to run multiple applications. But developers (who allegedly came up with the idea to run data over live broadcasts) aren’t getting access to this feature’s API, creating some friction between Google and its developers.
All arguments aside, the color scheme is reminiscent of the PSN and Ice Cream Sandwich – all blacks and blues. There will be the ability for split-screen viewing as well.
Developers are working with an Intel CE4100 reference platform running Google TV 2.0 beta. The CE4100 is designed for set-top sets, meaning it’s equipped for streaming, broadcast, and other Internet use. It’s also supposed to have no problems running Flash or 3D gaming. It also includes the remote control keyboard, which apparently is the same as the one paired with the Logitech Revue. Logitech was unimpressed with Google TV sales and said it would be scaling back production, but at least now we know the manufacturing isn’t entirely disillusioned with Google TV.
The device also features more ports than the first-gen model. Again, this is an incredibly early look, so take it for what you will.