Skip to main content

Android devs can now code for Google TV

Google TV
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Google has been working on its Google TV platform for a couple of years, and while initial offerings may have landed in the consumer marketplace with a dull thud, the company is soldiering on with its efforts to marry the Internet with the living room television. Now, Google has taken what may be a major step in that direction, unveiling the Google TV Add-on for the Android SDK, which will enable Android developers to start adapting (or creating) applications for Google TV. Unleashing tens of thousands of Android app developers on the Google TV platform may help spawn an ecosystem—even if devs find mobile apps don’t always make a good one-to-one port to televisions.

“These are still early days for Google TV, and this release is another step in providing developer tools for the big screen,” wrote Google TV product manager Ambarish Kenghe, in Google’s Android Developers blog. “While the number of apps available on TV will initially be small, we expect that through this early release of the add-on you’ll be able to bring optimized TV apps into the ecosystem more quickly.”

The carrot Google is dangling in front of Android developers is access to the Android Market: with an operating system upgrade to Honeycomb, Google TV devices will be Android-compatible and (in theory) capable of running a wide range of Android apps. Of course, most Android apps are developed for smartphones—and some for tablets—and few of those are likely to succeed on Google TV without modification. For instance, Google TV won’t have touchscreen input, so apps that require touchscreen input will be automatically excluded from a Google TV device’s view of the Android Market. Google is also recommending Google TV apps get optimized for D-pad navigation, designed with an eye towards being viewed from 10 feet away, and other changes: Google has published some UI guidelines to help developers get started. The Google TV Add-on doesn’t support all Google TV features, but does enable developer to emulate much of Google TV on Linux with KVM—which may save devs the trouble of finding a suitable Google TV hardware unit. Google says it’s working to bring emulation to other operating systems.

Geoff Duncan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Geoff Duncan writes, programs, edits, plays music, and delights in making software misbehave. He's probably the only member…
Your Google Chrome app is getting 5 helpful new features
An Android phone showing Android 15.

The Google Chrome app for iOS and Android is introducing numerous new features to make searching in Chrome easier than ever. These features are either going live now with the latest Google Chrome app update or launching on the iPhone 15, Galaxy S24, and other devices later this year.

Google is introducing additional Chrome Actions to help you find local places. When searching for a restaurant, you will see shortcut buttons in the search results that allow you to call the restaurant, get directions, and access reviews. Android users can access this new feature in Chrome now, while iOS users must wait for a fall update.

Read more
Lenovo’s new Android tablet just put the Pixel Tablet to shame
A render of the Lenovo Tab Plus Android tablet.

Lenovo has just announced the new Lenovo Tab Plus, a budget-friendly option for those seeking a tablet designed for music lovers in particular. For just $290, it’s a much better value than the dock-less version of the Google Pixel Tablet.

The new Lenovo Tablet Plus features an 11.5-inch 2K display with a 90Hz refresh rate. The screen is also TUV-certified, which means that it was tested to ensure low blue light and be flicker-free for optimal eye comfort during use. Peak brightness reaches 400 nits.

Read more
Android 15 just hit a critical milestone
Android 15 logo on a Google Pixel 8.

If you're eagerly awaiting Android 15, we have good news. Google has just announced the rollout of the Android 15 Beta 3, marking a significant step in Android 15's release schedule.

Although there don't appear to be many new features in this third beta compared to previous ones, Android 15 Beta 3 marks the first build of Android 15 that's in the Platform Stability stage. For developers, this means that "all app-facing behaviors are now final for you to review and integrate into your apps, and apps targeting Android 15 can be made available in Google Play."

Read more