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Beta Build of Honeycomb for Google TV Leaked – Here’s What To Expect

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Hot on the heels of the Logitech Revue’s price drop to $99 comes more good news. The promised update of the Google TV OS (based on Android) may be available very soon.

We got a taste of the new OS at Google I/O back in May. The new build is based on  Honeycomb, which was pretty evident when they showed off a limited preview to the crowd of developers there to learn how to make apps for the platform. Now a beta version of the update is running free on the Internet for all brave enough to download and install it.

Google TV beta Honeycomb Home Screen

Before you rush to add the Honeycombified Google TV 2.0 to your Logitech Revue, be aware of a few things: First, this update is unofficial, and may render your Revue unable to receive official updates in the future. You’re going to want that ability, trust me. Second, while there is a sort of working Market included, one major app is missing: Netflix. Third, since the release hasn’t rolled out yet, there won’t be much you can do but look at how things might work in the future.

Lucky for all of us the folks over at Channel Android did a hands on with the beta so you don’t have to. Check out the video below.

The first thing to notice is that the user interface underwent a big overhaul and now resembles the tablet version of Android more than a set-top box OS. I’m particularly intrigued by the widgets for the Home screen – other than Pandora and CNBC headlines, I hope to see things like alerts when the newest episode of your favorite show is available on Amazon VOD, or maybe a pre-load of the latest podcast in your queue. There are several great possibilities here.

The apps along the bottom can be customized, another good thing. I’m a Netflix user, and I want quick access to my favorite app right from Home. The app drawer/list of all apps is more like Android than the previous UI, giving more space to icons. This was probably necessary to keep users from having to do too much scrolling now that the Android Market is on board.

Google TV Honeycomb Beta Android Market

Speaking of the Market, I wouldn’t be too disheartened by the small number of Apps for TV you see in the video. Since this is a beta build there are probably apps that just aren’t ready yet but will be. However, I hope Google makes it so TV users won’t see apps that won’t work on their devices. That can be confusing and frustrating for the less tech-savvy. Blake (the guy in the video) tried to install several apps, only to have the system tell him that they weren’t compatible.

The app buying/installing procedure looks simple enough. I wonder what will happen when users try to buy something and haven’t set up a Google Checkout account. If not handled well, that could be a big barrier to the purchase of apps.

I like the Notifications feature – again, I hope to see alerts relating to media I want to watch. It would also be nice if I could get a notification when I miss a call on the webcam. My father is forever getting on me about not returning these calls.

Overall, the thing I’m most excited about is the ability to install apps. Crossing my fingers that the selection will be good. What aspect of Google TV 2.0 excites you the most?

K. T. is a lover of technology, gadgets, and all things geek. She has the enviable job of playing with evaluating mobile tech and apps all day. Follow K. T. on Twitter @KTBradford, on Google+ and Tumblr or email her via her website, KTBradford.com.

20 Comments

  1. Trev186

    08/03/2011 at 12:05 am

    will they release an update for the Sony TV version of Google TV as well?

    • Brice Bechtel

      08/04/2011 at 2:53 am

      Dude, i was wonderin the same thing. they always talk about that revue thing when i have the sony tv

  2. Matt Plemmons

    08/03/2011 at 2:03 am

    Will there be a full featured chrome browser unlike the one that is on G TV now?

    • K. T. Bradford

      08/03/2011 at 2:28 am

      Matt, I certainly hope so. While the current Chrome browser does well with Google Docs and Google+, it’s pretty limited when it comes to complex, flash-driven websites. I hope the new version is an improvement.

      I wonder if Google will allow third-party browsers? Would like to see what Dolphin Browser devs do with a TV-size canvas.

  3. K. T. Bradford

    08/03/2011 at 2:26 am

    The update is supposed to be for all Google TV devices, so there will likely be one for the Sony Blu-ray player. I think since the Logitech is a Google TV-only device it’s a lot easier to mess with in this way.

  4. Anonymous

    08/04/2011 at 12:07 am

    I will be looking to see if some video players become available with wide codec support.
    Also something to see my network shares and stream from them.
    A fully flexible browser and ability for third party browsers would be big also.
    I’d like to be able to watch regular hulu and youtube and such….

    Even at that, I might just put the $100 toward a good dock for some android tablet or even ipad or something.

  5. Anonymous

    08/04/2011 at 12:07 am

    I will be looking to see if some video players become available with wide codec support.
    Also something to see my network shares and stream from them.
    A fully flexible browser and ability for third party browsers would be big also.
    I’d like to be able to watch regular hulu and youtube and such….

    Even at that, I might just put the $100 toward a good dock for some android tablet or even ipad or something.

  6. SteveS

    08/04/2011 at 2:51 pm

    Uhm…I’m not sure this is a GOOD thing for GTV.  Rumor has it the Revue is at $99 because they are being returned unsold left and right.

  7. kamil

    08/05/2011 at 9:32 am

    Hi
    i ordered a logitech revue after the price drop but i have an old tv i will buy a hdmi to rca converter device to link the revue to the tv will that work? kindly please advice

    • K. T. Bradford

      08/15/2011 at 9:52 pm

      I honestly don’t know. I have heard that there are converters, but they’re expensive.

      • km

        09/11/2011 at 5:50 am

        I tried one $50 HDMI to RCA converter from Amazon to connect a old sony tv with Revue. It works but picture quality is not good plus there are flickers…..

    • Guest

      08/28/2011 at 5:24 pm

      No….it will most likely not work. HDMI gives a digital output where as your TV would probably only be able to accept analog signals.

  8. kamil

    08/05/2011 at 9:32 am

    Hi
    i ordered a logitech revue after the price drop but i have an old tv i will buy a hdmi to rca converter device to link the revue to the tv will that work? kindly please advice

  9. Steve Dickey

    08/11/2011 at 4:11 pm

    Two words. Angry Birds.

  10. Anonymous

    08/17/2011 at 2:13 am

    Hey man, try side loading dolphin browser HD.
    If that works, I am completely installing honeycomb!

  11. fritz boyle

    08/19/2011 at 8:55 pm

    it looks like there are now Google TV apps starting to appear on the market http://fritzboyle.com/google-tv-apps-on-android-market/

  12. Michael Manley

    08/22/2011 at 1:38 am

    ANY IDEA WHAT OFFICIAL LAUNCH DATE..ACCORDING TO GOOGLE IT SAYS “LATER THIS SUMMER” PLEASE FIND OUT AND LET US KNOW.

    THANK YOU

  13. GARY GAINES

    08/24/2011 at 1:35 am

    I WOULD LIKE TO SEE SKYPE ,SLING PLAYER AND HULU

  14. Mary Mayonaise

    09/07/2011 at 7:19 pm

    I WOULD LIKE TO LEARN WHAT MY CAPSLOCK BUTTON IS FOR!

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