More than a few senior citizens got their first tablet in the form of a Kindle Fire last Christmas, and I'm sure a few more will be getting HD versions this year. Maybe that's why the powers that be at Sony Pictures chose to make the official Wheel of Fortune mobile game exclusive to Amazon's Appstore, at least until January 13th, when it will hit the Play Store as well. Wordsmiths can purchase the game for $2.99.
Today, in a post to the Official Google TV Blog, Google announced officially the new functionality offered by the YouTube update we covered yesterday, along with a few other treats set to hit Google TV users starting with LG devices "this week."
First among the enhancements is the addition of Voice Search, allowing users to "simply speak to watch anything." Voice Search recognizes commands for opening apps, playing YouTube videos, visiting websites, and even finding channels or specific TV shows.
Zeebox, a social TV companion app that's already found popularity in the UK has officially hit the US, aiming to make a splash thanks to monetary and promotional backing from both NBC and Comcast.
Essentially, Zeebox serves as an auxiliary guide to TV enjoyment as well as a social platform where users can see which shows are hot, who's watching them, and what they're saying in response. Users can see what their friends (and everyone else) are viewing or planning to view, chat with friends, start a viewing party, or tweet reactions.
While GoogleTV still hasn't really taken off, the idea of an Android-powered set-top box is still a good one if properly executed. Diamond Multimedia recently tried its hand at such an execution with the AMP1000 (Android Media Player), its first venture into the Android realm.
But, like with any new project attempt, there is plenty of room for failure. As we've seen so many times before, what seems like a good idea on paper can easily be a disaster in execution.
Ouya just can't stay out of the headlines, can it? After recently announcing that the TV-centric Android gaming system would come with built-in OnLive support, the company is back to say that it's partnering with Square Enix to bring Final Fantasy III to your TV. If you live in Japan, this might be old news, but it marks the first time anywhere else that the game will be available via a television-based console.
Google I/O has come and gone with nary a mention of Google TV. Disheartening to say the least, but that doesn't mean that the platform is dead. Not while manufacturers keep making products for it. Products like the Vizio Co-Star. For $99, the Co-Star sits in the right sweet spot for Google TV device pricing. Combine the price with a remote that's smaller than a plank of wood, and OnLive gaming built right in, the little box actually looks like a pretty sweet deal.
Viggle, a TV check-in app that's already seen popularity on iOS, has just seen its first beta release for Android. Viggle, for those who don't know, allows users to check in to their favorite TV shows. The app accomplishes this by "listening" to audio and comparing the sounds it hears to a database, matching them with a certain television show.
What makes Viggle more interesting than many check-in apps is that users can earn tangible rewards.
HCI, a prominent provider of education and entertainment devices for the healthcare industry, has just revealed a new iteration of their RoomMate television line, powered by Android. These televisions can not only show you your favorite programs, but can also make use of specially developed apps to browse the web (using built-in WiFi), view photos, play games, and a lot more, making your hospital stay (or visit) a little more enjoyable.
Following a statement of distaste for Google TV (at least in its present form) from Logitech's CEO Guerrino De Luca, an intriguing rumor has sprung up that perhaps Korean manufacturer LG is set to try their hand at Google TV, debuting a GTV-enabled set at CES next January. Bloomberg cites "two people with knowledge of the project" as sources for this information, maintaining the informants' anonymity by request.
LG, as the world's second largest television manufacturer, could prove to be a hugely important ally for Google in bringing Google TV to a level of success that will ensure its continued competition with other companies seeking to be the ultimate solution in combining internet and television (ahem, Apple).
Likely not wanting to get left behind by the likes of Comcast, whose XFINITY for Android app has been quite well-received, Time Warner Cable is preparing to release a comparable remote control app for its cable subscribers at the end of November.
The app will incorporate full set-top box remote control functionality, access to the DVR interface, and an in-app 7-day programming guide.
The app is being developed for Honeycomb tablets (the test device looks to be a Galaxy Tab 8.9 or 10.1), and TWC has indicated that it's possible the release could be pushed back a little beyond November because of a heavy product release schedule this season.