Why Google TV Development Deserves A Second Look

I love Google TV. It’s a key part of my daily use of the Android platform. If I have something that I like that I am viewing on my EVO, Nexus 7 or computer, with the push of a button I can send it right to my Google TV. Recently, my brother purchased a Roku and it was interesting what he said after a day or two with that device. He pointed it out that it made him appreciate his Google TV more. He noted that most of the things you can do with a Roku can now be easily accomplished on Google TV. It really is a useful and versatile platform.

My Sony Google TV is one of my favorite devices, and the one that gets the most use in my home. Mr. Magoo is playing on the Netflix App for my 1 year old in the background as I type this. So why hasn’t it taken off? Well, Google TV has made tremendous gains recently and we are finally starting to see some high quality apps hit the platform after nearly two and half years of existence.

In it’s infancy, Google TV, a platform developed in association with Google by Intel, Sony, and Logitech, struggled for consistency and usability; but, thankfully, Google has done several things to change that. A few of these are outlined in the article Why Is It Time To Start Developing Apps For Google TV by Carmen Delessio, the author of Sam’s Teach Yourself Google TV Development in 24 Hours. I will be touching on some similar points as well as referencing some material he pointed me to.

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For those who may be new to using Google TV, the platform came a long way with the advent of the Honeycomb 3.2 update. It was at this time that Google TV really started wielding one of its biggest advantages, the fact that it is Android and is already in use by a fairly high portion of the population. Until Google TV came along there was no common platform for the Smart TV segment that spanned multiple vendors. That development for Android is so closely entwined with development for Google TV (and vice versa) is a real selling point for developers. For example: the Google Play Store is now available for the Google TV, opening up the marketplace for developers and giving users the same common location to access their favorite media content that they use on their phone or tablet.

As Carmen Delessio points out in this article on informIT:

The iPhone showed that an app marketplace was a key success factor for a new device. The iPad showed that a new form factor with a different size and shape makes a difference for both development of apps and how consumers use them.

Carmen Delessio

As consumers begin to adopt Google TV, more and more developers must approach app development for those devices based around how the end user is using a device’s “10 foot user interface” and, perhaps most importantly of late, second screen apps. In the article linked above you will find a brief introduction to second screen app programming. You may have noticed second screen applications are starting to take off and you will begin to see a lot more of them leveraging social networking and additional content related to television programming.

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There is a lot of excitement around the new occurrences in Google TV and now there are several models set boxes to Television sets in all price ranges. This is another reason Google TV app development may be something for developers to consider going forward. Though Eric Schmidt’s dream of a Google TV in every living room has yet to be realized, there are now several convenient options for turning your regular television to an Android powered smart TV, including the widely available Vizio Co-Star and Sony Internet Player. It is my hope that we see some of the innovation that we see on small screen Android make it up to the big screen.

I’d like to thank Mr. Carmen Delessio for providing me with some background information and links for this article; he is truly a pioneer at teaching Google TV development. You can find a comprehensive guide to developing for Google TV in his book Sam’s Teach Yourself Google TV Development in 24 Hours. If you’d like another great source to get started on Google TV Development or just want to see Google TV in action you can head to the Google TV Development website. Stay tuned for more on Google TV and its apps!]]>

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