Google Play Music updated with Android TV support, interface tweaks, more

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Google this afternoon started rolling out an update to its Play Music app on Android that bumps it to version 5.6. While the update is not all that big, it does coincide well with the recent announcements at Google I/O this week. One of the biggest changes comes to how device authorizations are handled. You still get to have 10 devices active on your Google Music account, but now only five of them can be phones. The other five can be any combinations of tablets, computers, and other devices. This is obviously not a huge deal for the average user, but could cause issues for power users. The account switcher UI itself has also been updated.

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Google says OEMs will not be able to alter the design of Android Wear, Auto, and TV

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At Google I/O this year, the company unveiled a trio of new operating systems, Android TV, Android Auto, and Android Wear. All of these operating systems, of course, run with an interface designed by Google itself. There was doubt, however, surrounding whether manufacturers would be allowed to overlay their own interface on top, like many do with Android. While speaking with Ars Technica, Google’s engineering director David Burke put an end to our doubts and confirmed that OEMs will not be allowed to overlay their interfaces on top of Android Auto, Android TV, or Android Wear.

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Android TV Remote Control and preview version of Google Cast Receiver hit Play Store

Yesterday at its I/O developer conference, Google introduced its new take on bringing the power of Android to the living room with Android TV. Google’s new “L” version of Android will power set-top boxes and full TV sets from Razor, Asus, Philips, Sony and more bringing voice control and gaming capabilities to the entertainment experience.

In addition to making an Android TV SDK available later today so developers can create software for Android TV, Google has already released a remote control app on the Play Store for use with Android TV when it’s available later this year. Google notes that the app is intended to work with the ADT-1 Developer Kit. The app features both a d-pad and touchpad for using your Android device to maneuver around the Android TV interface. Android TV Remote Control is available today on the Play Store. Read more

New video from Google shows how all of today’s announcements will work together

Google announced a variety of new services and products today at Google I/O, including the “L” version of Android, Android Auto, Android TV, Google Fit, and Android Wear. In an effort to help us all digest this onslaught of news, Google this evening posted a 2-minute video on YouTube showing how all of those services can seamlessly work together to make your life easier.

The video, seen above, shows a man performing daily routine, but with all of Google’s new services. He’s using an Android “L” smartphone paired with an Android Wear watch, paired with a car with Android Auto, paired with Android TV. And, of course, an obligatory cute dog. The video makes it look like it all works pretty seamlessly together. But unfortunately, we’re still quite aways away from this becoming reality.

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Google to unveil at least one Android TV-powered set-top box during Google I/O

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Earlier today, Bloomberg published a profile of Android head Sundar Pichai in which it was stated that Google has several Android TV announcements slated for its I/O developer conference tomorrow. The WSJ has now published another report corroborating the earlier profile. According to the report, Google on Wednesday will unveil at least one “small set-top box” running its new Android TV operating system.

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Report: Google to announce Android TV platform at I/O conference next month

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Google is about to launch a new Android TV platform at its upcoming Google I/O conference in June, according to a new report from GigaOM. The report claims the new platform will be a revamped vision of what Google already has with its Google TV platform and will focus mainly on online content and Android gaming rather than integrating with existing pay TV services:

Android TV won’t be another device, but rather a platform that manufacturers of TVs and set-top boxes can use to bring streaming services to the television. In that way, it is similar to Google TV, the platform the company unveiled at its 2010 Google I/O conference. But while Google TV was focused on marrying existing pay TV services with apps, Android TV will at least initially be all about online media services and Android-based video games.

Google has apparently been making deals with partners in the lead up to launching the new platform, some of which are said to include Netflix and Hulu Plus as well as hardware partners that will build and sell the Android TV devices. The report also shared some details on the Android TV UI: Read more

Android TV screenshots reportedly leak, show off simplified card-based interface

For years now companies have been claiming to that they make the perfect set-top box, with Amazon being the most recent to do so with its FireTV. Notably missing from this arm’s race, however, has been Google. The company was one of the first to offer a set-top box OS with Google TV, but the idea quickly failed and was never widely adopted. Over the past year, reports have started to emerge claiming that Google is plaining a reentrance into the set-top box market with an Android-powered set-top box. The Verge has now published an extensive report on Android TV, with screenshots of the actual interface and much more.

The report, which cites internal Google documents, claims that the idea is far along in development with major app providers already building for the platform as we speak. While Google TV was also based off of Android, this new revision is entirely rebuilt and is something very different. “Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform,” writes Google. “It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction.” It will be “cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast.”

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Now you don’t even need to spend 35 bucks to start Chromecasting …

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We thought $35 was pretty cheap for Chromecast, but if you don’t even want to lay out that much (or, more likely, can’t get your hands on one at the moment), there’s an app for that.

XDAdevelopers (via Phandroid) pointed us to CheapCast, a free app in the Play Store that enables any Android device to emulate a Chromecast stick. Install it in two devices, one of which could be an Android TV or OUYA, and you can broadcast from one to the other. Don’t, however, expect full functionality at this stage …  Read more

Google prepares for living-room push as 4k support added to Android 4.3

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Google is clearly serious about its intentions to make a sizeable push into the living-room market, as Android Police spotted a small clue revealing that Android 4.3 has added support for 4k displays.

Google has added a new DPI category to Android: XXXHDPI. This is for screens with an approximate DPI of six hundred and forty. Did you think we were stopping at 1080p?

Android engineer Dianne Hackborn is quoted as confirming the intent behind this:

A typical use of this density would be 4K television screens — 3840×2160 …  Read more

CES 2013: Hands-on with the Archos TV Connect Android 4.1 set-top box (Video)

9to5Google gave you a demo yesterday of the Archos Android-powered GamePad coming to the United States market in the next couple of months. While at the Archos booth on the show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center for CES this week, we also got the rundown on its new “TV Connect” Android 4.1.1-powered TV product. The set-top box packs a 1.5GHz “Smart Multi Core” CPU, 8GB of storage (microSD card slot up to 32GB), and 1GB of RAM, and it comes with a hybrid game controller/QWERTY keyboard that also includes Wiimote-like gesture support. The TV Connect will retail for $130 this February.
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