Google TV to Run on Android 2.1, Will Ship With Chrome 5.0 and Supports Flash Websites

Written By Sam on 5 October 2010
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Google TV is expected to launch this month. And fresh reports are pouring about the search giant sealing content deals with a number of media and internet companies, including NBC Universal, Time Warner, Amazon, Twitter, New York Times, CNN, CNBC, HBO, the National Basketball Association (NBA),  Netflix and USA Today, for its proposed Google TV service. What’s more, the company has also launched a website http://www.google.com/tv to tell us what it is all about: “TV, apps, search, and the entire web… together at last.”

Simply put, it’s Google’s attempt at making the TV experience smarter. Here we will deal with some commonly-asked questions about the service that may help you understand it better:

Google TV, Availability, Subscription: To put it simply, Google TV is about bringing together television and the internet in a meaningful way. Search is built into the TV experience. Google’s TV software will come bundled with the new Sony HD TVs and Blu-ray players. It has also been built into Logitech set-top boxes that can be used with television sets. It is expected to be made available to other manufacturers as well. To make the platform work per se, users will not require a set-top-box. However, a set-top box and service will be required to access TV feed.

Technology: Google TV is an open platform for TV-related devices. It is built on Android and will ship with Chrome 5.0. The Chrome version will get upgraded with over-the-air updates. In the future, the platform will allow developers to navigate TV content. Google informed, “Android developers will not only have access to most of the Android APIs currently available but also to Google TV-specific API extensions that tap into the power of TV.” An SDK add-on with Google TV-specific extensions is also expected to be available a few months after first product availability. An emulator will also be made available with the SDK add-on. Google is currently working to open source the code for the Google TV project, and hope to release the source code next year. The platform will come with support for Flash 10.1. So, Flash websites will work. Website owners wanting to optimize their sites for TV may refer to website design guidelines at www.google.com/tv/developer. Google has noted that it will not provide native client app support at initial product availability.

Android Related Details: Google TV will run on Android 2.1 at initial product availability. However, it can be upgraded over-the-air (OTA) to a higher version. Android market would be available on Google TV in early 2011. Therefore, application downloads will not be officially supported. Only pre-installed applications will be available at initial product launch. However, once Android Market is available, a user’s existing applications will work on Google TV unless they require a hardware or software feature not supported by Google TV. Google has called on developers to optimize their applications for TV as well. The Google TV SDK add-on will be freely available and developers will will have to sign-up on www.google.com/tv to stay informed about availability. For Android questions not specific to Google TV, developers can continue to use the Android developer resources at developer.android.com.

Google TV UI: The browser on Google TV is the Linux version of Google Chrome. However, the user interface will be modified for the TV form factor. Users will also receive the latest updates automatically. Guidelines for Android app UI will be posted once the SDK is available.

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