Not to be outdone by Apple’s revamped plans to reinvent the television, the other sleeping giant when it comes to TV apps, Google, announced a big software update for its Google TV televisions and set-top boxes, adding the ability to run third-party Android apps.
This is a big deal, not just because it means music (and other, less important) apps will have access to the biggest screen and often best speakers in the home, but because by our reckoning, the lack of apps was a big reason so many people were returning their Google TV equipment. Starting next week, Sony devices running Google TV (including PlayStation and Blu-ray players) will get the upgrade, followed by Logitech’s Google TV stuff the week after that.
At first, Google TV’s app selection will be limited to about 50 — in part because televisions aren’t touchscreens (nor would we want them to be).
We are opening up the TV to the creativity of content creators large and small through Android Market. Android developers can now bring existing mobile apps or entirely new ones to TV. Initially, the number of apps won’t be large – apps requiring a touch screen, GPS, or telephony won’t show up – but 50 developers have seeded the Market with cool and useful apps for the TV. We’re excited to see the number of apps grow.
We’re excited too, because television has potential to be the killer platform for music, if only Apple and Google can get their act together, especially in the area of letting people build Android and iOS apps for it.
Evolver.fm has asked Google how many of these 50 are music apps, and for names if possible, because we really like the idea of running music apps from subscriptions to more whimsical offerings on our televisions. We’ll post an update if/when we hear back.
(Update: We did hear back — check out the 13 music apps that will be included with Google TV.)
But judging from the screenshot above (courtesy of Google), at the very least, Google TV users will be getting HD concert films through Qello’s Google TV app.