googletv_0Google pulled the plug, back in December, on the big debut it had planned for Google TV — its TV-meets-DVR-meets-the-Internet software — at the January Consumer Electronics Show event in Las Vegas. According to The New York Times, it asked TV-making partners Toshiba, LG Electronics and Sharp to hold off releasing televisions running the software until it could refine things a bit.

Nine months later — on the heels of Google's announced plans to purchase Motorola — Google has opened its Google TV Add-on for the Android SDK, encouraging developers to begin building apps for couch potatoes.

"Google's aspirations to enter the living room are well-known, and this deal places the company squarely in the fold of the world's most technologically aggressive cable TV companies," IMS Research Senior Analyst Paul Erickson said in an Aug. 16 research note on the heels of the Motorola announcement (CP: Google-Motorola: Sorting out the winners and losers).

Google's pay-TV presence is the strongest in North America, Erickson added, which is arguably the most aggressive market for multi-screen applications and pay-TV services from operators.

The new add-on enables developers to add the Google TV bit to the Android SDK without affecting the rest of the SDK or existing apps. It also supports Google TV emulation and provides "configuration options for Google TV and a Google TV system image that runs in the Android emulator," Google explained.

The Motorola deal, Erickson added, offers Google a way to enter the "video arena" on the services side instead of the consumer side, and to have "direct presence at the front line of the world's most competitive market for deploying pay-TV applications to tablets and handsets."

As the apps space for the "third screen" explodes, it's feeling natural to glance back at those large first screens.