Google TV might not have received a Honeycomb update as of yet, but Android developers can now at least begin porting their Android apps with the final release of the Google TV add-on for the Android SDK.
While the impending Honeycomb update will essentially run Android apps with little or no tweaking, the Google TV add-on allows devs to access to TV specific APIs such as accessing channel guides. However, as Android Community notes, the majority of apps won’t be displayed in the watered down version of the Market which will land on Google TV with Honeycomb. The scaled back Google TV Android Market will filter out any apps that rely on touchscreen controls.
As of yet there is only an emulator for Google TV available to developers running Linux, but OS X and Windows support is said to be coming. You can download the finished Google TV add-on for the Android SDK here.
A couple weeks back Google TV’s director of Content, Donagh O’Malley, claimed the update Honeycomb could come “within the next three or four weeks”. Read more
Citing the obligatory “people familiar with the matter”, the Wall Street Journal in a story this morning reports that Google is finalizing contracts for upcoming YouTube channels that will stream premium entertainment content on a regular basis. Google CEO Larry Page apparently wants to give people a good reason to tune into YouTube instead of television. Content owners are being “encouraged” to create schedules of programming much like traditional TV, the paper noted.
YouTube has requested some content for the channels within the next 60 days, according to one of these people, as it considers a launch in early 2012. YouTube, which media companies have long griped is too stingy cutting content deals, is paying from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million to content creators to create and curate videos for a channel, according to these people. Google recoups the original payment through ad revenue, and Google and the partner share ad revenue after that.
This could be viewed as part of Google’s broader push towards providing high-quality Hollywood entertainment on YouTube. The timely strategy ties nicely with the Google TV project, which is also about to be updated with a new software release soon. The Wall Street Journalfirst reported on Google’s plans to spend a hundred million dollars on premium YouTube content back in April. Google is reportedly in talks with Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor and International Creative Management over professionally produced programming on broad themes, including arts, fashion and sports.
The official announcement by Google regarding Honeycomb for Google TV is just around the corner, and more and more leaks of the OS running on Google TVs are popping up. Today’s leak (seen in the video above) even includes video of the Netflix app optimized for the big screen — score!
You’ll also notice that besides Netflix, other Honeycomb optimized apps are appearing on the Market. A search in the Market for Google TV will return results like, “Fox News for Google TV”.
If you’re feeling adventurous, instructions for installing this latest build on a Logitech Revue are posted over at GTVHacker, but please be aware that this could brick your device. But at $69, it doesn’t seem like as big of a deal. The official announcement should be coming any day now..
Back in April, the Wall Street Journalreported that Google was spending a hundred million dollars to commission premium YouTube content from the likes of Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor and International Creative Management, to name a few. But the search monster’s agenda is likely much, much bigger, per research note issued to clients by William Blair & Company. The research firm believes that “Google is silently buying/licensing hundreds of millions of dollars of professional Hollywood content”. Think $100-$200 million for rights to premium Hollywood content:
Google has the resources and infrastructure to be a big player in Hollywood content. Becoming a major player in the premium-content industry requires a com- bination of capital and technology resources that few have. Google fits the bill, how- ever, with $39 billion in cash, annual free cash flow of $9.4 billion, Android, Chrome, YouTube, Google TV, the world’s largest advertising platform, and Motorola Mobility’s set-top-box business. Lastly, Google has made several key Hollywood hires over the past year to understand content rights.
Hollywood studios could consider going to bed with Google should it subsidize their wholesale fees and at least partially monetize the movies through advertising. Consumers would be given the choice of either watching a pricier, ad-free version or rent ad-supported titles for a lower fee. Stakes are high in this game. The market is worth an estimated $65 billion and just advertising on digital home entertainment is a billion dollar business (see the table after the break).
Google, of course, is facing fierce competition from the likes of Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, in addition to traditional retailers such as Best Buy (CinemaNow) and Wal-Mart (Vudu). Weighing in on Amazon, Google and Apple, William Blair summed it up nicely:
We believe Amazon’s digital agenda is to gain Prime customers, Apple’s strategy is to sell devices, and Google’s focus is to build a bigger ad footprint.
Now, if Google has in fact been quietly licensing studio content left and right, prudent watchers should expect a splashy announcement alongside GoogleTV 2.0, which is due end of summer, as in any day now. If Google can leverage their pending Motorola acquisition, which makes millions of set-top boxes for other IPTV players, Google could quickly establish an end-to-end Hollywood entertainment delivery platform that even Apple might find difficult to crack. In all, Google has likely found its new $65 billion market, the research note reasons:
The Logitech Google TV console has just dropped to $90 at Tiger Direct (New, free shipping). Interestingly, this box will be upgradable to GoogleTV 2.0, due out in the next month or so. Why is Google/Logitech in such a hurry to get rid of these? Certainly when GoogleTV 2 comes out, they will be worth more to the consumer, won’t they?
I think this also hints that the second round of GoogleTVs will be much cheaper than the first. Read more
Engadget has posted Sony showing off an updated Google TV set-top box running Honeycomb. We’ve been expecting Honeycomb to hit the platform all summer after seeing it leak, but this demo shows a much more stable version ready for release. As you can see above, Android apps are running on a Google TV.
Last month, Google released the SDK for developers to begin optimizing apps for bigger television screens. Apps have seem to been Google TV’s number one requested feature, which would give the platform a lot more functionality. We’re hopping this hits as soon as possible! Read more at Engadget