Expect to see better looking Android TV apps, as well as more offerings from developers, in the future. At Google I/O today, the company announced the alpha version of Compose for TV, a framework that will make it easier to build attractive Android TV apps with less code and more intuitive tools. Google says developers will be able to bring over their existing code, and by moving to Compose it should be easier to update apps moving forward. The framework has direct access to the Android APIs — which most devs are already used to — and will support code from existing Android mobile and tablet apps. Google is also unveiling a set of TV design guidelines to help developers optimize their apps for big screens.
Google has certainly come a long way when it comes to home entertainment. Its first Google TV platform, released in 2010 before the rise of streaming services, fizzled and died. It bounced back with the cheaper and far more popular Chromecast, which eventually led to Android TV, a platform that now houses a revived “Google TV” interface.
When it comes to streaming platforms, Apple still has more tools for developers to build attractive TV apps, but it’s nice to see Google making an effort. It’s not like there’s much competition from Roku or Amazon’s Fire TV devices. Android TV’s true power is its ubiquity, much like Android itself. According to Strategy Analytics, Android TV shipped on more devices than any other streaming platform last year. (Even my Formovie projector has Android TV built-in.)
Follow all of the news from Google I/O 2023 right here.