Google prepares to battle Amazon and Apple with Android TV

In today's open source roundup: Google will launch Android TV. Plus: Linus smacks down another developer, and a London Council dumps Windows for Chromebooks to save lots of cash

By , ITworld |  Open Source, anroid, chromebooks

Television set top boxes are apparently the new frontier for gadget companies. The Verge reports that Google is preparing to take on Amazon and Apple by releasing Android TV. It looks like Android TV will have an entertainment-centric interface, as well as apps and games.

Google’s new vision for Android TV is less ambitious and easier to understand. The company is calling for developers to build extremely simple TV apps for an extremely simple set-top-box interface. While Android still lives under the hood, the interface will consist of a set of scrolling "cards" that represent movies, shows, apps, and games sitting on a shelf. You use a remote control with a four-way directional pad to scroll left and right through different suggestions, or up and down through different categories of content, each with their own shelves. Much like on other set top boxes, each item will be like a miniature movie poster or book cover, and you’ll pick the one you want. The controller will also have Enter, Home, and Back buttons to help get around, and there will be "optional" game controllers.

Android TV will also support voice input and notifications — though Google is encouraging developers to only use notifications in very limited cases. In total, Android TV is remarkably similar to Amazon's just-released, Android-based Fire TV.

More at The Verge

Android TV
Image credit: The Verge

Given Amazon's release of Fire TV this move by Google should come as no surprise. It also puts a huge amount of pressure on Apple to finally get apps and games onto its Apple TV product. Apple has been dragging its feet in improving the Apple TV, and now it has two strong competitors that will eat its lunch if something isn't done soon.

Linus expresses his opinion again
The Register reports that Linus Torvalds has pulled no punches once again while expressing his opinion about a Linux bug.

What set the irascible Finn's blood boiling was kernel developer Steven Rostedt's discovery that when a Linux system is started with the "debug" option enabled, systemd can flood the system's logging services with so much information that it will fail to boot.

"Key, [sic] I'm f*cking tired of the fact that you don't fix problems in the code *you* write, so that the kernel then has to work around the problems you cause," Torvalds fumed, adding that he wouldn't merge any more of Sievers' code into the kernel until he cleans up his act.

More at The Register

I'm thinking that Linus should maybe go into politics someday, he'd be a breath of fresh air in the political arena.

London Council saves big bucks by switching from Windows to Chromebooks
OMG! Chrome! reports that a London Borough Council will save a lot of cash by dumping Windows and moving to Chromebooks.

The LBC for Barking and Dagenham began moving its employees over to Chrome OS devices in mid-2013, with the aim of total migration ahead of the Windows XP expiry date on April 8, 2014.

In addition to modernising their equipment, Rupert Hay-Campbell, of ICT at the borough, estimates that as much as £200,000 has been saved in licensing costs by forgoing Windows PCs in favour of Google’s free alternative. A further £200,000 saving is expected from reduced electricity costs owing to the energy efficiency of Chrome OS.

More at OMG! Chrome!

Good for them, it's no shocker that Chromebooks have exploded in popularity. This isn't the first story we've seen about a move to them from Windows, and it won't be the last. Chromebooks are turning out to be one of Microsoft's biggest nightmares.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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