Android TV was launched at Google I/O, Google’s developer conference, on Wednesday. They showed off the platform in multiple demos on stage. Now, the Android TV emulator, along with the SDK, are available to developers, under the L API package.
Android TV is Google’s take on the living room. It is their third try, after the failure of Google TV, and the success of Chromecast. The platform is based on the Android L release, which is the next major version of Android. It will work with apps in the Play Store, and have casting built in.
Google TV was launched in 2010, it only supported a few applications at the time, and didn’t come with the Play Store until later. Initial partners included Logitech, Sony and LG. The platform eventually failed when Google started to neglected it.
The Chromecast was unveiled in 2013. It supported only a few services at launch, but became an immediate hit. App support was trickling in at first. Then Google released the official SDK, and all the major services started supporting it. The Android TV platform is suspected to be the next evolution of the Chromecast.
Even though the emulator is available, it still isn’t the best way to test out the platform, because it will most assuredly be sluggish. This could affect developers ability to work with the emulator. So, the better your development machine, the easier time you’ll have developing.
Google has developed an easy way to modify an existing app to work with Android TV. It should be as easy as adding in a few lines of code. In some cases though, it might be easier to just start from scratch, or build a separate app, as netflix has done.
To set up the emulator go to the Android TV developer site, download the SDK, and follow the steps. Do you plan to use the Android TV emulator, or develop for the platform, let us know in the comments below.