The Android platform can now perhaps gain a solid foothold in the living room with the gradual release of a Google TV 2.0 update. Its rollout comes with Android 3.1 Honeycomb for the set-top box, as well as access to the Android Market and ability to install non-Market apps.
These milestone features could really herald the appearance of cheap smart TV’s running on Android that do not compromise end-user experience. Knockoffs typically sold for around $100 on trading sites like Alibaba are purportedly running on Android 2.2 Froyo with limited selection of apps. But, this is no longer the case.
The search giant acknowledges the fact that the latest update will be cue for manufacturers to mass-produce Google TV devices, with a likely chance that they will run on forked versions of Honeycomb. Even if Google disapproves and disallows access to the Market, these copycats can survive through third-party app vendors.
Just as unofficial tablets have seen the light of day before legit products from Samsung and Motorola were made public, there is high expectation for cheap alternatives running on Honeycomb, even if heavily modified. Sooner or later, a major fork will show up, just like what Amazon did with its Amazon Kindle Fire tablet.