While the loyal users of Google’s much-neglected Google TV platform wait
patiently for Honeycomb, developers can finally begin work on apps in earnest. The finished version of the Google TV add-on for the Android SDK is available now, so that Android app makers can port their applications to Google TV. You can download the plug-in here.
Google TV is technically based on Android, but until now it still required its own specialized development tools. Once the Honeycomb update rolls out, general Android apps will run on Google TV with minimal modification to their code. Some apps will work right away, while others will require a little tweaking – that’s where the add-on for the Android SDK comes in. Apps will be able to use API calls for various TV-related activities, like displaying the channel guide. At this time a full-on emulator for Google TV (like the Android emulator that’s included in the full SDK) only works on Linux, but Windows and OS X support is coming in the future.
Users will be able to browse the Android Market for new apps once the Honeycomb update is pushed out, though it won’t be the same one we’re used to seeing. Google says that touchscreens will not be supported, so apps that require touchscreen interaction (i.e. 99.8% of them) won’t be displayed to Google TV users. Instead they’ll be shown only the apps that are verified to work with Google TV, either through developer tagging or Google’s direct featured apps list.
There’s still no word on when Honeycomb and the Android Market will make its way to end users.