Google TV honeycomb hands-on
Hands-on with Google TV 2.0 Honeycomb

13 Sep 2011 | Rasmus Larsen |

Google plans to update their Google TV platform, which received lukewarm reviews in version 1.0. The next version of Google will also be available in Europe in 2012. The update is dubbed Honeycomb, and includes a better user interface and Android TV Market. FlatpanelsHD got some hands-on time with Google TV 2.0 at IFA and here are our first impressions.

Google TV 2.0 first impressions

Google TV has not been the success Google had hoped for, and has been called a failure. But Google hopes to change that with the next version of Google TV that is expected to come to TVs and separate media boxes. Google also promises a new user interface and maybe most importantly of all; an Android TV Market with App designed for TVs. Google also plans to launch Google TV in Europe in 2012 and Europe will therefore skip version 1.0, unlike the US.

Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market
Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market


At IFA 2011 Sony had brought a prototype to showcase the next generation of Google TV - dubbed Honeycomb. Sony did not allow fair visitors to play with the joypad and Google TV but FlatpanelsHD persuaded Sony to give us some hands-on time with Sony Google TV and the remote control.

The first thing we noticed was the updated graphical user interface. The menu is now located at the bottom of the screen where all the available apps are found.

Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market
Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market


And if you want to show all installed TV Apps you can enter the All Apps interface.

Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market
Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market


Google TV’s new Android Market for TVs obviously builds on Google’s success with Android Market for smartphones. The smartphone Apps cannot install on the Google TV platform unless they are universal but Google hopes to attract many developers of TV apps. Behind the actual TV in the picture below you can see some of the expected TV Apps that will be available at the time of launch - or shortly after. Google hopes to see many App in categories such as news, video-on-demand, music services and games.

Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market
Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market


Sony’s Google TV at IFA used the same remote control that came bundled with version 1.0 – but a different one might be developed for the final product. Google will also release an App for tablets and smartphones and the source code has actually been made available to developers in order to let them add or modify functions.

Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market
Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market


Today Google TV is sold as an integrated solution in Sony’s Google TVs or as a separate box from Logitech (called Revue). Sony tried to differentiate their solution through Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited where users have access to TV shows, movies, documentaries, sports and music streaming.

Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market
Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market


Google TV also offers a built-in web browser.

Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market
Next version of Google TV - now with Android TV Market


As mentioned in the introduction, this is a prototype, but Google TV 2.0 seems to be closer than we might expect. Google hopes that the Android TV Market will be one of the major selling points but at the moment it does not offer much compared to other TV manufacturer’s Smart TVs that already incorporate TV App Stores. However, Google has the advantage of developer support from the smartphone Android Market.

What do you think? Is the next version of Google TV what Google TV should have been from the start? Share your opinion in the comment box below.



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