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Android 101: Developing for Google TV

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If you are an Android developer, you now have yet another platform on which to develop an app: Google TV. Shane Conder and Lauren Darcey, authors of Android Wireless Application Development, 2nd Edition, show you how to get started.
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Android developers now have yet another platform for which they can target their applications: Google TV. There are two ways to bring your applications to this exciting line of devices: web apps and native Android apps. Learn all about how to get started bringing your application to this exciting new platform in this article.

What Is Google TV?

Google announced a new platform initiative in early 2010: Google TV. The vision: a highly interactive and connected television experience. And Google wasn’t going to do it alone, but partner with some of the top guys in the television and set-top box business: Sony, Intel, and Logitech.

Here’s a good way to think about it. Google TV is supposed to be to television what smartphones were to telecom: a smart TV that revolutionizes what you could expect from your device. The Google TV project brings together many of the same features you now see in smartphones: a powerful browser, Google search, third-party apps, and new and exciting input methods. Unlike smartphones, though, Google TV also includes built-in high-definition support for various entertainment providers including:

  • Network television (Dish Network with DVR, etc.)
  • Streaming professional media services (Netflix, Amazon On Demand, Pandora, Napster, etc.)
  • Online media providers (YouTube, Flash video sites, etc.)

You also get a couple other cool features, such as the ability to use your smartphone as your remote control and search the web. Google TV also supports dual usage modes, so you can watch TV and browse the web at the same time from the comfort of your favorite armchair.

Now let’s move past the exciting user features and talk a bit about what Google TV is under the hood, as this is what’s most important for us developers. The Google TV is, at its core, an Android device. It runs the Android operating system (Linux-based). It uses Chrome for its browser technology.

Intrigued? Want to get your hands on one so you can develop some cool apps for it? The Google TV website lists all supported Google TV devices you can purchase at this time. You have the option of purchasing a complete package (TV screen and all) or a set-top box that works with your existing HDTV. Regardless, the packages seamlessly integrate with your existing satellite and network setup.

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