Google TV gets app happy as Google opens gates to Android developers

Preview plug-in for Android SDK is go

Google TV gets app happy as Google opens gates to Android developers
If, as many expect, Apple eventually transforms Apple TV into yet another iOS app machine, it may find that, for once, its great rival Google has stolen a march on it.

Google's own television platform - the equally plain named Google TV - is now open for business as far as mobile developers are concerned, with the firm releasing a preview version of the platform's plug-in for Android's SDK.

While the apps won't go live until the platform is updated to Honeycomb (Android 3.x), this should enable studios to optimise their titles for their new home, rather than simply porting them across.

Slow but steady start

"Depending on the design and use case, an existing Android app may work well on Google TV as is, or it may require fixes," said Google TV product manager Ambarish Kenghe.

"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 guidelines include information on how certain UI elements on Google TV differ from other Android devices."

Described as an 'early release', Google's longterm plans are not yet clear (support for Android apps was unveiled at Google I/O in May, but dates have not yet been pinned down), but it will be interesting to see whether it acts as a trigger for the rest of the industry.

"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 optimised TV apps into the ecosystem more quickly," concluded Kenghe.

Samsung's rival TV platform - dubbed Smart TV - has already received notable backing from major mobile publishers such as Gameloft, with the firm serving up six games to the service via Samsung Apps back in May.

[source: Google]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.