updated 08:00 pm EDT, Mon August 22, 2011
Google TV Add-on clears devs to write own apps
Google late Monday took the redesigned Google TV an important step closer by posting a preview version of the Google TV Add-on. The extension gives Android developers a way to optimize phone and especially tablet apps for the Google TV interface without having to change their tools. Along with supporting TV screens, it adds extras like hooking into a TV's channel lineup and other elements specific to the remote-control interface.
The preview is mostly limited in emulation. Only a Linux user with a KVM switch can run the emulator at present, leaving Mac and Windows developers to either test on a live device or wait for the full version.
As with tablets, Google TV owners will only ever see apps that are optimized for the living room and which don't require a touchscreen or other elements they don't have.
Google hasn't said how soon it would have a more developed version of the Google TV Add-on or when it would readily start catering to Google TV apps. The revamped platform based on Android 3.1 is officially due to ship in the fall both as an update and on new Logitech, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio hardware. Third-party apps have existed on Google TV, but they have all been hand-picked apps in a closed system and not the open Android Market store Google is adding this year.