Google (News - Alert) I/O, the search engine giant's annual conference for partners and independent developers, kicked off on Tuesday with some good news for owners of the company's oft-forgotten 1-year-old product, Google TV. The Internet giant announced that the much maligned Web-enabled device will be upgraded to Android 3.1 this summer and will have access to the Google's apps market "soon."
The announcement should help draw more consumer interest in Google TV, which currently offers only onboard apps like Netflix, Twitter, Pandora (News - Alert) and Napster, plus access to sites like YouTube. Google Android development team member Mike Cleron said that developers can begin creating apps for the Google TV platform using the existing Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” SDK, according to Venture Beat.
“This is how Google releases things,” an executive inside Google told Forbes' Quentin Hardy. “Google TV isn’t a finished product, it’s a platform for others to develop on – we release it to give developers something to work with.”
Google also announced that it will be expanding its lineup of Google TV hardware vendors. Vizio and Samsung (News - Alert) have both committed to building Web-enabled televisions that feature Google TV. The two companies will join current Google partners Sony and Logitech, which will each roll out new products of their own. No launch dates have been set, but you can probably assume that the new televisions will be introduced alongside the host of Google TV-focused apps that will hit the market in the next few months.
Google TV was introduced at last year's I/O conference alongside the launch of the Logitech (News - Alert) Revue, but got off to an underwhelming start. Time will tell if an influx of applications and a cleaner, friendlier user interface will save Google TV.
Another boost to the Web-enabled television accessory will be the recent announcement from Google-owned YouTube (News - Alert), which said that it will be doubling the size of its online video store. The site said that it has reached licensing deals with several major studios to add 3,000 more movies to its pay-per-view collection.
Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves