LG, Philips and Sharp have joined Smart TV forces to create a common, open-standards based app development platform that will allow coders to create one version of their software to run on sets from all three manufacturers. A beta of the common SDK is expected to be released in early October, using HTML5, CE-HTML and HbbTV along with the promise that an app which runs on, say, one of Sharp's Aquos Net+ sets will also run on one of LG or Philips' Smart TV sets.
Currently, while several manufacturers have smart TV offerings, most use different approaches to how applications are developed. That forces coders to either stick to a single brand or spend time porting their apps between platforms; meanwhile, other approaches - such as Google TV - are yet to even support third-party software.
The TV trio have mobile-style success in their sights, with Havis Kwon, President and CEO of LG Electronics describing the deal as "a major step towards creating an app market every bit as inventive and dynamic as the one that exists for smartphones." They're also inviting other vendors to join them.
What remains to be seen is whether LG, Philips, Sharp and others can shore up developer support before one of the big CE names like Apple or Google begins taking smart TV seriously and launches their own app platform for the living room. So far, iOS and Android developers don't have a simple route to get their software onto the TV, but it's a case of "when" not "if" Apple TV and Google TV get opened up to their respective app stores.