It’s been a few years since Google launched Android 3.0 Honeycomb, the first version of the Android operating system optimized for tablets. Since then, the company has moved forward with a unified experience, and Android 4.0 and later have been designed to play well with phones and tablets featuring screens of all sizes.
Yet for some reason the company’s Google TV software is still based on Android 3.0. That’ll change later this year.
Google has announced that the next version of its Google TV platform will be based on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, just like the latest software for Android phones and tablets. The new software should start rolling out in a few months.
The company says it’s also made changes to the platform that will make it much easier for hardware partners to rollout software updates to their customers. According to Google, that means it should take “weeks rather than months” to roll out updates.
Google is also now offering the latest version of the Chrome browser with Google TV, with updates rolling out every six weeks.
The Google TV platform is designed to let you run some Android apps on a television screen and control them with a remote control or voice input instead of a keyboard and mouse. The idea is to offer a single user interface that lets you access video from your cable provider and internet video, along with other functions such as news, weather, or games apps.
In practice, Google TV devices tend to offer a kind of clunky, inconsistent user experience that can be difficult to navigate. Things haven’t been helped much by the relatively slow software.
Interestingly, you can pick up a TV box running the full version of Android for less than the cost of most official Google TV devices and get a faster device with access to far more apps.