Google TV Honeycomb

We're sitting in on the Google TV session this afternoon at Google IO and just got our first look at Android 3.1 Honeycomb on the platform. Announced during the Day 1 keynote on Tuesday, Honeycomb on Google TV will bring full Android compatibility at the 12-foot level. That means full Android access on your TV, including Android applications and the full Android Market.

In addition, Google TV will gain full ADB support -- meaning devs can debug, and hackers can hack. There's an SDK add-on in the works (no word on when we'll see it just yet), and there will be additional television-specific functionality.

Much of the talk consisted of how devs will need to handle the resolution and pixel density on something as large as a television. The main difference between Google TV and Android on a phone, at least from a UI perspective, is that you hold a phone a foot or so away from your peepers, while a TV is across the room, thus the "12-foot view."

Honeycomb will also be able to handle the inevitable screen clipping that can occur when switching from HD to standard-def content.

Other news out of the session:

  • For the obvious reasons, users won't be rotating their screens. Devs need to remember this.
  • Apps will need to optimized for navigation via the D-pad, and not touch.
  • Right now, devs can run apps in the Honeycomb emulator.
  • A Google TV emulator is coming soon.
  • ADB access is coming later this summer, but devs can get early access through the Fishtank Program.
  • The Android Market has a nice 12-foot view. (Pic via Jason Howell)
  • NDK apps are not supported on Google TV.
  • Neither are apps that use the camera, microphone or other sensors.
  • Source code for the Google TV remote app is being released under the Apache 2 license.

Developing ...


Reader comments

First look at Honeycomb on Google TV


Can someone give me the 5 second version of why Google TV is going to be cool for me?

I currently hookup my laptop to my TV to watch hulu stuff or other shows from streaming sites that I dont get with cable and don't want to pay for 500 channels to get 2 that I actually want.

I have an EVO and would love to control a google tv box with it.

To start, you don't have to hook up your laptop. You just use the wireless keyboard. It has Netflix native support and Hulu Plus coming soon. If you have kids or a short attention span yourself the way it searches for content is awesome. Angry Birds on fifty inches would be p-i-m-p. But from a practical standpoint there are a ton of apps like banking, Evernote, Epicurious, true email/GMail support, and being able to stream my music collection through my home stereo that is hooked up to my TV is just a few reasons. It takes the convenience and streaming content capabilities of your laptop, content of your cable box and availability of applications you use on your phone then mashes them in to one. You just can't make calls with it ha ha ha. I love my Logitech Revue. It isn't a perfect device. There are annoyances and flaws like the wi-fi dropping a lot and limited initial content. But it is only improving and improving at a quick rate too.

P.S. you CAN control your Google TV with your EVO. At least if you have a Logitech Revue. I use my Droid Incredible and the Logitech app to control mine.

Right now there isn't a really compelling reason. I have two [one was free] and I use one for dev purposes [testing sites, etc; I'm a web dev] and the other is for personal use. The personal use is a Netflix only box, basically. It also provides a way better experience for finding shows than my Comcast box does.

When 3.1 hits...all of that changes, it seems. I need to learn more but I'm amped w/ the possibilities of 3.1 on my TV.

I've very much looking forward to the next gen hardware combined with 3.1. I've been holding off buying one until the apps were available and it sounds like I shouldn't have to wait too much longer

Sony could learn from Google... allow hackers to do their thing but put restrictions on it when it comes to hacking the actual games. THis is great I can't wait till release

I want Hulu basic...not all of this pay content that I'm not interested in. If that was the case I'd just buy cable. Never the less, really interested in something with 3.1 that isn't buggy as hell.

What on Google TV is not available on the XOOM? I have both and the XOOM has more to offer without netflix. Love my GTV but its kinda used for not much right now.

Obviously I cannot wait! Are we looking at late summer for the 3.1 update? Will The original GTVs be updated to 3.1?

the google tv looks great , but dont you player know there is already an android box out there that is attached to the market that streams at 1080p
no brainer i think myself i got mine at

My Revue is currently coming up a bit short of expectation, mainly because of the weak video player, but we are getting good service out of it from Amazon Instant Videos, especially enjoying the freebie movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime membership.

I'm really looking forward to the Honeycomb update and opening up the Android Market, and a whole new range of possibilities.