Next Google TV update will be based on Android 4.2

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.

Asus CUBE

Asus CUBE with Google TV

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.

via GigaOm

  • Renee Auclair

    I think Google should just junk Google TV and Chrome OS. Instead, support Android tablets and set top boxes with HDMI connectivity. As a nod to remote controls, provide a remote control API so that Android apps can be written for Android devices (phones, tablets, phablets, media players) to act as remote controls to the set top boxes. Google can provide a free Google TV app with a remote control skin like it does for Books and Music.

    • Bill_Surowiecki

      There are some things that are starting to show up in the Chrome Channel as far as code goes, that might really make you rethink dropping chrome.

      There are some very real hints that the Chrome browser IS going to become the Chome OS, running on top of windows or Mac or Linux. Right now the code is pointing towards the idea that Chome will very soon incorporate a file explorer, and move further towards taking over your OS from there.

      Imagine having a browser that acts as the OS you interact with on a daily basis and pushes Windows to nothing more than a work horse for launching hardware intensive applications like 3dS Max, Maya, Photoshop, ect…
      It would be all of the benefits of a Chromebook, with none of the drawbacks.
      It would also be one of the sneakiest Trojans I have ever seen a company pull on MS.

  • http://soltesza.wordpress.com/ sola

    As long as GoogleTV devices cannot run apps from Play, they don’t stand a chance with set-top-boxes coming with stock Android (like the Mele).

    • Bill_Surowiecki

      Id say yes an no.

      You ALWAYS need to be aware of the fact that we are not the average consumer. The Google TV is trying to capture the average consumers attention, the same groups that will buy an AppleTv or Roku. While it may be true that consumers as a whole are becoming more technically savvy, we still have a decade or so before the non-savvy are irrelevant in the market.

      I, being a geek have several Android Sticks as well as an old Revue. I can tell you right off the bat that your average user is going to not find the Android Stick experience enjoyable. The reason is that the apps we use on them for the most part do not scale too well, or work well as a 10ft interface. Worse still, is that there are plenty of apps that will not navigate with standard directional input, meaning its mouse input or nothing.

      Its this very reason why the GoogleTV has a limited market selection. The apps are made for 10ft interfaces and for use with directional navigation.

      What I really think Google ought to do is create a 3rd device identifier for their apps. We already have Phones and Tablet identifiers, allowing developers to launch different interface types in a single app, dependent on the device id. If Google were to add a third, say a Google TV id, and allow other manufactures to state their devices are GoogleTVs at least in id form, the developers could begin adding third layout types for their apps.

      At present the only good method I have to change the DPI values per app, so things like Spotify are actually legible from 10ft away on my couch. This is something the average consumer is NEVER going to do.