The Boxee Box firmware 1.2, slated to be released within weeks, will introduce a total of 14 app categories, and developers are able to self-assign up to three categories to each app starting this Thursday. Boxee until now only offered users the ability to browse apps by content type to differentiate apps that serve up videos from music-specific apps. Users of Boxee’s connected device currently have access to 200 apps, most of which serve up video.
Boxee isn’t alone in its attempt to bring order into what lead developer Rob Spectre today called an “exploding library of apps.” Roku, which primarily started off as a Netflix streaming device, introduced categories for its channels earlier this year to make life simpler for its users. Both moves point towards a bigger issue: As connected devices are becoming more popular, users have to wade through a growing number of apps and content sources.
This will be especially true once Google opens up its Google TV platform to third-party developers. The company has made it fairly easy for Android developers to port existing applications to Google TV, which could mean that users may soon have access of thousands of apps available on their Google TV devices. Google’s advantage is that the Android Market already utilizes some 25 categories, but turning navigation and discovery within these categories into a seamless ten-foot experience could be challenging nonetheless. Solving the challenges associated with this type of content discovery may be one of the bigger steps towards making connected devices mainstream.
Speaking of Boxee, check out our recent Cord Cutters video to see how you can supercharge your Boxee browser: