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Google (s GOOG) will update its Google TV platform to Android 4.2.2, the company announced on Google+ Wednesday. The update will be rolled out to existing devices in the coming months, and it will bring all the major features of the latest version of Android and Chrome to TV screens.
From the announcement post:
“Today, Google TV is moving to the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean, 4.2.2), and we’ve refactored Google TV so that our TV OEM partners can update to future versions of Android in a matter of weeks rather than months. For developers, this means you can build TV experiences using the latest Android APIs, including the NDK.
Today Google TV is also moving to the latest version of Chrome, and from now on Google TV benefits from Chrome updates on the same six week cycle that you’ve come to expect from Chrome. In Chrome on Google TV, we’ve added support for hardware-based content protection, enabling developers to provide premium TV content in HD within their web apps.”
Some Google TV hardware partners have been working with the new version since February.
This will be a big step for Google TV, which has been based on Android 3.2, or Honeycomb, since the last major OS update in late 2011. However, some Google TV owners won’t be able to take advantage of the update: A Google spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that it will only be available for ARM-based Google TV devices, and not on first-generation Intel-based Google TV set-top-boxes and TVs.
Coming next to Google TV: video games?
The update could bring a number of new features to Google TV that owners of newer Android handsets take for granted, including a better performance, a much-needed UI-update and an all likelihood some form of Google Now integration. It should also help developers by making it easier to port their Android 4.x-optimized apps to Google TV.
But there’s another aspect that’s interesting about this step: Google also announced Google Play games services, a cloud gaming service that makes it possible to develop multi-player games and save game plays across devices, at I/O Wednesday.
With Google TV switching to Android 4.2.2, it’s reasonable to assume that Google TV devices should have access to Google Play Games sooner or later as well. This could give the smart TV platform, which has so far only seen modest adoption, another leg to stand on, and potentially enable future Google TV devices to function as full-blown game consoles as well.
This post was updated at 1:35pm with additional information about the devices that will receive the update.