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Riptide GP2 game indicates Android TV really is coming

A fleeting reference in a videogame update backs up the expectation that Google's set-top box will debut Wednesday at its Google I/O conference.

An update to Riptide GP2 shows support for Google's Android TV in this screenshot from Aaron Burrell.
An update to Riptide GP2 shows support for Google's Android TV in this screenshot from Aaron Burrell. Aaron Burrell

An update to the Riptide GP2 game indicates that yes, indeed, Android TV is likely to arrive at Google I/O on Wednesday.

The Google Play store posted a version 1.2 update to Riptide GP2 that included "support for Android TV!" Android user Aaron Burrell posted a screenshot of the changes on Google+ before they were removed from the Google Play store.

Sources told CNET that Google is expected to debut Android TV at its developer-focused Google I/O show Wednesday. The device, a Net-connected set-top box that brings streaming video, audio, and games to the living room, will compete against devices from Apple, Amazon, and Roku. No doubt Google hopes it'll fare better than its earlier foray into the market, Google TV.

With some exceptions like Microsoft's Xbox game console, it's been tough for computing-industry players to branch out into home entertainment. With each passing year, though, the Internet and TV come closer. People don't just get shows on cable TV; they also stream them from sites like Hulu and Netflix and buy rights to them from services like the iTunes Store and Google Play.

Bringing Google's mobile operating system to set-top boxes means that the large number of Android programmers will have a new domain to reckon with besides smartphones and tablets. That could mean new users and new revenue, but it also likely means new programming effort since big-screen TVs look very different than small handheld devices and lack the touch screen for controls.

It's not clear exactly how Android TV devices will be controlled, but it seems likely people could link up their smartphones and tablets. They could be used as game controllers, offer a touch-screen interface to browse shows, or provide a keyboard when it's time to type.