Due to last week's Google I/O event, there was no weekly coverage on Android TV and it was expected that this week's edition would be jam-packed full of all the big and exciting announcements on Android TV. Interestingly though, that was not to be the case with Google effectively ignoring the platform during this year's keynote presentation. Although, on the face of it, this might have seemed disappointing, the truth is that it probably should have been expected. Unlike some of the other android platforms, Android TV has taken its time getting off the ground and in full swing. In fact, it has only been in the past few weeks where the momentum has suddenly picked up with the release of the NVIDIA SHIELD, the Razer Forge and the Sony TVs just before. Not to mention, the operating system as a whole has been getting some really interesting updates.
The first of this interesting updates came a few weeks back when the Nexus Player was updated to Android 5.1.1. This update included tweaks to the system, with the ability to now reboot the system from within the settings. This was a massively needed feature and one which Google needed to introduce. Likewise, an extremely interesting update landed for the Play Store this week and in short, this was the update any Nexus Player has certainly been waiting for.
If you missed the earlier coverage and have yet to see your update landing, then the update will bring the Android TV Play Store to version 5.5.15. And this update brings to the platform's Play Store, what it should have always brought, APPS. It has been widely commented on, that the one thing missing from Android TV was a wide enough selection of apps (and ones which were easily findable) and the Play Store as whole on the Android TV felt like a much reduced and poorer version than what is currently on the other platforms.
However, that has all now changed and the Play Store on Android TV is full of app goodness. In fact, it almost seems as though Google got a little bored with all the complaints and decided to dramatically increase the navigation around the Play Store. As such, there is now a ton of new channels to choose from. In our earlier coverage, there was limited time to look at the new selections, but after some time digesting, it is safe to say that in spite of Google I/O ignoring the platform, this is the week Android TV properly landed.
Beyond, the initial increasing of apps, the new navigation format used on the Play Store is excellent. Content is not simply broken down into app and games, but instead is far more defined making it significantly easier to find the app you are looking for quickly. In terms of apps, this is certainly a lesser developer channel than games, but nonetheless, apps is now defined and broken down into three main categories, Top Apps, Media Apps and Tools & Utilities. These are all rather self-explanatory and displayed as shown below.
However, it is the games side of things which has seen a massive increase its navigational aspects with a wealth of categories added. Those on offer now include Top games, Arcade games, Casual games, Action games, Racing games, Puzzle games and Sports games.
Not to mention, the side panel curated channel categories have also been greatly increased and includes a wealth of new curated categories and now consists of Top Apps & Games, Movies at Home, TV Time, Fun for Everyone, Stay Informed, Racing & Flying, For Music Lovers, Great Platformers, Sports Central, Get Ready Fight, Every Day Apps, Arcade Fun, Role Playing Games, No Sweat Workout, Aim and Shoot, Choose an Adventure, Stop the Enemies and Exercise Your Mind. All with their own selection of apps
Lastly, it is worth pointing out that the update section of the Play Store on Android TV now looks much better with big and clear card based icons highlighting which apps have an update ready to install.
So, although there were no massively revealing news as this year's event, it does seem that Android TV was in Google's minds and make no mistake, the update rolling out for the Play Store is one which adds significant value to the platform on any device and finally highlights the first steps of what Android TV is capable of doing. If you have yet to see your update land, then you can still sideload the update by downloading it through the link below.
Play Store Download - V5.5.15