In a move that goes completely against what Google has ever done with Android, Google’s developer policy for Android TV spells out Google’s intentions to screen every app that is submitted before they allow it into Google Play. This is quite unlike the open and less stringent “upload first, ask questions later” method Google has used for Android phones and tablets, as well as for Android Wear. Here’s the policy as written under the Android TV section of Google’s apps distribution page:
Before distributing apps to the Play Store on Android TV devices, our team reviews apps for usability with a DPAD (apps) and Gamepad (games only) and other quality guidelines.
This doesn’t sound too bad. If anything, it sounds like Google just wants to make sure any app that can be downloaded from their official store is fully usable with the included remote and, in the case of games, the optional game pad. Unfortunately Google’s “other quality guidelines” don’t seem to be available for public view, but we imagine they’ll want to make sure your apps don’t crash or blow the moon up and whatnot.
It’s always a little unsettling when Google goes off the tracks and implements policies that make the barrier of entry for developers harder, but as Android continues to evolve and find its way on new platforms and in new industries Google will have to work carefully to groom it and make sure things don’t get too wild in the early going.
Creating an apps marketplace for something like a television or smart glasses is much more different than your average phone or tablet, so we can’t exactly cry foul without knowing whether this policy hurts the development process more than it helps. In any case, we’re sure folks who end up buying Android TV products will appreciate the fact that Google isn’t willing to let anything and everything onto the big screen (especially considering how buggy many of Google TV’s apps were).