Anybody who owns an ADT-1 has noticed the inexplicable absence of a Play Music app, something that became even more apparent after the Nexus Player began shipping with it. Well, the wait is finally over! An update to the Play Music app began rolling out earlier today, and it includes a banner on the Leanback Launcher for those of us with Google's development hardware. If you've got a Nexus Player, you haven't been left out with this update.
In a somewhat surprising, but completely understandable, move, Google has added a pretty large caveat to Play Store app submissions for Android TV. According to the Android developer documentation page on submitting apps, the company will pre-screen and approve all Android TV apps before making them available for download via the platform's marketplace.
It looks like Google isn't wasting any time laying down a support infrastructure for its new set-top box push. Just one day after the shiny new Nexus Player officially went on sale, the YouTube app for Android TV has been published in the Play Store to enable easy updates without a firmware upgrade. If you happen to be one of the few people with an ADT-1 developer unit from Google I/O or you got lucky with an early delivery of the Nexus Player, you should see the update automatically.
Android TV, and by association Nexus Player, are the evolution of Chromecast. It essentially eliminates the need to use a middleman device like a phone or tablet if the user chooses, and allows them to interface directly with the device and TV in many cases. While it still retains all the functionality of Chromecast, a dedicated box allows for a much more robust and feature-rich system, as well as more room for future enhancements.
When Android runs on a TV, it's still Android, there are just a few checks in place to make sure users aren't installing unprepared phone apps to their big screens all willy-nilly, creating the kind of awful UI experience that could make a techie cry and any one else scrunch their face in confusion. In a way, Google's only trying to protect us from ourselves. Most TV viewers will want nothing to do with such shenanigans, so only apps that have been updated and declared compatible with Android TV work with the platform out of the box.
You may cease panicking—the Nexus Player is available for pre-order in the Play Store again after paying a visit to the FCC over the weekend. Google stopped taking orders for the device shortly after it went live on Friday when someone realized the FCC hadn't actually approved the device. The wait wasn't long, though.
If you've spent any time in Google's ecosystem of hardware and software, you're no stranger to impatiently waiting to receive a firmware update. Hey, we've all been there. While we know the ADT-1 is set to receive an OTA to Android 5.0, it seems Google is still holding back a full rollout despite the very small number of units in circulation. If you don't feel like waiting for your number to come up, it's possible to sideload the update manually onto your ADT-1 and take advantage of everything it has to offer.
There's a new Nexus in town (another one) today, and this one's headed straight for the big screen: as in, your TV. The Nexus Player runs Android TV with a 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom processor and talks to the web via a 2x2 AC Wi-Fi connection (there is no ethernet port). It's built in "collaboration" with ASUS.
Connecting to your TV is accomplished via HDMI. The Nexus Player will ship with full Google Cast (aka Chromecast) capabilities baked in, essentially negating the need for a Chromecast on the connected TV.
Those few Android developers and other fanatics who got a pricey Golden Ticket to Google I/O are the first to experience Android TV, thanks to the ADT-1 developer set-top boxes that were distributed at the show. They get to try out all the cool new Android TV apps months before everyone else. Except today - today, AOL allows those users to feel solidarity with everyone else, because there are new apps that they can't play with.