There was an intriguing development today in Google’s battle for big-screen viewers as Android TV Launcher was made available for download. The launcher is the visual interface that is used to serve up movies, TV shows and video games on Android TV devices.
Essentially, the Nexus Player is the only consumer device that this news applies to. And that particular product is only available in the United States and Canada.
But the release of Android TV Launcher is significant nonetheless, possibly even signalling a new approach to the way Google makes Android updates available.
As Android TV Launcher is the interface through which Nexus Player owners interact with the device, it is a very important piece of software. It is therefore vital that Google is able to keep it up-to-date and bug-free.
Traditionally with Android, releasing updates has meant upgrading the entire operating system. This process can be a little time consuming and requires downloading large amounts of data.
Due to the nature of upgrading Android, Google has – understandably – tended to included a number of different fixes and improvements with each update. But if users encounter any difficulties, isolating the cause can be difficult.
By upgrading only one – albeit very important – component of Android TV, the whole process becomes much more straightforward. The launcher can be updated in less than a minute, and if any problems occur, then fixes can also be rolled out relatively quickly.
Google’s move to separate Android TV Launcher from the main Android TV OS is not especially revolutionary.
HTC, for instance, already delivers updates to the likes of HTC File Manager, HTC Gallery, HTC Backup, HTC BlinkFeed, HTC Clock, HTC Guide, HTC Sense Input, HTC SenseTV and HTC Weather via Google Play. And in addition to new versions of this vast array of software components, the Taiwanese company also issues service packs through the Play Store.
Google has been updating a number of smartphone and tablet Android services via the Play Store for some time. It may seek to expand the scope of these updates in the future, so that releases such as security fixes can be made available quickly, rather than relying on over-the-air updates from device manufacturers and mobile networks.