Last month at Google I/O, Google announced a new version of Google TV based on Android 3.1. While the company wasn’t ready to release this new version of Google TV just yet, they did give out to a bunch of developers a set-top box with a beta version pre-installed. Thankfully, one of those developers has bravely volunteered to give us a brief tour of Google TV 2.0 and this mysterious set-top box.
Let’s start with the box. It’s running Google TV v2.0 beta and is powered by Intel’s CE4100 system-on-a-chip. This chip was built “specifically for web connected set-top boxes,” and it’s optimized for Internet and broadcast applications. It’ll also be able to handle Flash and 3D gaming. But don’t expect to be playing Crysis on your Google TV box just yet. The set-top box comes with a power chord and, interestingly, a Logitech wireless keyboard.
Moving on to Google TV 2.0. This beta version of the OS seems to be devoid of most apps, having only the Clock and Live TV apps. Surprisingly, it also has a full-blown version of Chrome, according to Geek.com. I’m guessing Google will customize Chrome to better fit a TV interface later on, but at least now we know a full version of Chrome is coming to Android. And that’s pretty much it. Hopefully, this leak will encourage other developers to do the same and let us in on the fun as well.
Looking at the pictures below, you can see how similar this version of Google TV is to Honeycomb. The interfaces are almost identical. If Google really does manage to merge Google TV, Honeycomb, and Gingerbread in Ice Cream Sandwich, I wonder how hard it would be to put Google TV inside every Android phone. The interface could change between “Phone mode” and “TV mode” when an accessory is connected, a la Motorola’s Webtop.
Google said at I/O that this new version of Google TV would launch later this year. So sit tight and keep eye out for an announcement from Mountain View in the near future. Meanwhile, let us know what you think about this new version of Google TV in the comments.