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Google washes the face of Google TV, pushes it as just part of Android

The re-launch of Google TV at the company’s I/O conference added a brand new user interface, the Honeycomb Android release and Google is ramping up it

By PETER WHITE

Published: 19 May, 2011

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The re-launch of Google TV at the company’s I/O conference added a brand new user interface, the Honeycomb Android release and Google is ramping up its efforts to enthuse developers.

Google plans to present Google TV as part of an overall Android environment – which was a key theme throughout I/O this year, with Android taking in mobility, the Android@home control network and home media systems including connected TV. This will of course tap into the rise of multiscreen services and applications, to strengthen Google's web TV hand against Apple and others - though it still has ground to make up.

It is making it easier for developers to target TV by creating a unified Android platform with tablets. This summer, it will ship Google TV 2.0, based on an updated Android 3.1 (Honeycomb), and new tools will enable any Android or web programmer to create apps for the platform. Existing Honeycomb app writers will, for the first time, be able to access a new Google TV section within Android Market, and they can use an existing Honeycomb emulator to test Google TV apps today.

A PC emulator will be released soon, as well as a program called Fishtank, which will provide selected hardware emulators for Google TV 2.0. It is also making available a range of software libraries to help web developers to write code for TV apps.

Google TV, first announced a year ago, has made a slow start. Only two set-top boxes and one TV, from Logitech and Sony, have shipped so far though Samsung and Vizio have products in the pipeline to support release 2.0. Several major TV makers, notably Sony, Samsung, LG and Vizio, already supports Yahoo's connected TV platform.

Developers on Android forums have generally been positive about the changes, and the opportunity to tackle Google TV with standard tools and apps. "Multiscreen will be the biggest growth area in future," wrote one.

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