Google TV, the ambitious living room operating system often maligned as slow to update, difficult to use, and less focused than alternatives like Roku or standard Smart TV suites, will finally get a major operating system upgrade later this year.
LG announced today at Google I/O that its Google TVs will get the update to Android version 4.2.2, aka Jelly Bean, in the third quarter. LG is the only manufacturer still selling actual televisions with Google TV built-in, although a few set-top boxes are available, too. LG's models, including the 2013 GA7900 and GA6400 and the 2012 G2, will all get the update.
"In addition to boosting overall performance," says LG's press release, "the update will enable customers to enjoy more applications, including games that provide a greater level of interactivity and advanced graphics." It will support the Android Native Development Kit (NDK), so "smartphone apps designed using the NDK will run on LG Google TV with little to no modifications. With NDK compatibility, users can now play more games on the bigger...screen."
LG also posted a video with the update in action, featuring a GA7900 and the popular game Royal Revolt, as well as the newly developed remote control app for mobile phones and a feature that simulates 3D with standard 2D games.
By the time the update rolls out, the current version of the Google TV software will be nearly two years old. Based on Android Honeycomb (version 3.2), it hit Google TV devices in November 2011. While an improvement on its predecessor, and despite a couple of key updates since, it still has issues.