Ina Fried

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Google Offers Glimpse of New Google TV Due This Summer

Android developers got a brief peek on Wednesday at the simplified Google TV interface that the company hopes will be more attractive to couch potatoes than the previous iteration.

In the new look, there is a simplified set of app icons at the bottom, an action bar along the right hand side and most of the screen clear for live TV. As Mobilized reported last week, the new look is part of a broad revamp aimed at addressing some of the shortcomings in last year’s inaugural product.

“This is a lot simpler,” Google TV’s Jason Bayer told a packed room of Android developers at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. “We’ve gotten out a lot of the unnecessary features. We really want to get users directly to applications.”

The brief look at the new interface was provided as Google aimed to convince Android developers to tailor their apps so that programs originally designed for a phone or tablet will also run smoothly on a television.

As Google said on Tuesday, the new Google TV will run Honeycomb 3.1, the same version of Android used today on tablets, and programs will show up in a TV version of the Android Market. However, to run on Google TV, there are a few things that developers need to do.

In addition to dealing with a different screen size and set of input devices, Google stressed that users don’t want to have to interact with the same level of intensity.

“You should really think of a TV as not just a big phone,” Google developer advocate Christian Kurzke told the crowd.

Also, there are certain features that are on phones that aren’t supported at all, including telephony, cameras and many other types of sensors. The company said it knows that a camera could be useful for things like video chat and is trying to overcome the technical hurdles needed to add support for additional sensors.

Google confirmed this week that the Google TV update will come this summer for existing devices and then later this year on new products from Samsung, Sony, Logitech and Vizio.

If developers don’t want to wait that long, Google is letting them apply to get one of the “fishtank” development boxes that Google is using for internal testing.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus