Mike was instantly drawn to Android with the release of the G1 and HTC Magic which became his first phone. Drawn by the allure of open source and community, he quickly learned about rooting his device and applications to improve its performance Since then he has only owned Nexus devices for their ease of root level access and the ability to run the latest versions of Android via ROM or stock. He has owned a Nexus One, a Nexus S 4G, a Nook Color, and a Nexus 7.
He started writing for Android in 2011 at Android Activist and started writing for Rootzwiki News in April 2012. He was married in October, 2012 and lives in Richmond, Virginia.
My Logitech Revue is seriously long in the tooth. I keep it around primarily for quick TV searches, the updated Primetime app/guide, and for Netflix. My faith in Google continuing support for their television platform has also waned at times mostly due to the lack of developer interest. Entertailion LLC has been one group that has bucked that trend. The makers of Able Remote, a mainstay for GTV users, have now created an alternate launcher. Here's what they have going on with their initial release of Open Launcher:
More room for organizing your favorite apps
Support for grouping of apps, web apps, channels and web sites
Quick access to recent apps
Supports fast D-pad navigation
Overlay design that displays more of live TV
Direct access to browser bookmarks
Direct access to Spotlight web apps
Displays current weather
Various customizable settings
I was exuberant to see a post from Leon Nicholls, developer at Entertailion LLC announcing this new launcher for Google TV. I was able to push the install to my Revue and it was ready to run immediately after install. I went ahead and made it my primary launcher (goodbye stale default launcher). I was then adding favorite applications to the main screen, accessing bookmarks, and best of all Spotlight applications.
I don't use a ton of those web applications for Google TV. The Amazon app is terribly clunky and aggrivating, the rest provide a lackluster sit back experience. I do enjoy the IHeartRadio app/page and HBO Go. Having them as shortcuts now on my Home screen is a huge relief. For me that has to be the killer feature of this launcher. Having 2 click access to those Spotlight apps and bookmarks are going to come in very handy and make my Google TV experience a little more enjoyable.
I found having rows a new and rewarding experience. Having a most/recent used apps will come in handy for me quickly getting to the two or three applications that I actually use on Google TV. The interface with my Logitech keyboard was fluid, it integrated well with not only hardware but with other applications as well. I have to say I'm very pleased with this initial release. I would love to see widget support and some organizational features added to this application, but as it stands, this has redeemed a little hope in me with this platform at large. The app itself is open sourced and on Git which always gives me warm fuzzies.
Needless to say, I'm going to stick with Google TV. I'm hoping to get it integrated into my next television purchase though, I have little room and less need for another set top box in my entertainment center. Open Launcher is off to a good start and I'll be interested to see if any other GTV users have installed it and given it a test run yet. I would enjoy to hear your thoughts about this and hear about any lacking features that I missed.
This app is available for free at the Google Play Store