First post here and want to share you my recent work making app full multi-tasking possible on Shield TV.
With this I can use my shield TV as a desktop box and use Android apps and play games in desktop-like environment (I use the awesome Taskbar app which can act as launcher app in Android)
Hope you like it.
Following content are from my video description FYI.
Android has a multi-window mode called “freeform” mode available since Nougat, but only the focused window (app) is guaranteed to be running. Unfocused apps are in paused state and mostly stops updating. (You can observe similar behavior in Samsung Dex) - Not a true multitasking environment at all as what we’ve got in desktop OS. (Check out this video for behavior on original Android: https://youtu.be/KVk-H2OaHZg)
I have achieved full app multitasking on Android 8.1 by modifying Android OS base framework to make apps keep running even they are not focused. The customized OS runs on both TV boxes and mobile devices, but it is better to be used on devices with larger displays.
Shield TV is my favorite Android TV device and is super powerful. I actually had been using it myself as a desktop console to play Android games for years (I use it with an external touchscreen display). With this customized OS the hardware potential can be fully unleashed. You can see even I run many games and apps simultaneously the apps still run smoothly. With some “parallel” apps you should be even run multiple instances of same app / games on it. It is way better and much more cost effective compared to using PCs to run Android games with Android emulator softwares.
Though Android Q will officially support this with a new feature called multiple resumed apps but God knows when it will arrive on Android TV boxes, not to mention"freeform" mode is disabled in official Android TV OS and is unlikely to be enabled in the future. (My customized OS is built as Android OS for tablets instead of TV)
Device: Shield TV 2017
Screen: 1121 family 15.6 portable touchscreen (HDMI+USB)
OS: Customized Lineage OS 15.1 (Android 8.1)
App demonstrated: Brawl Stars, PUBG Mobile, The Sims Mobile, (These games get paused when lost focus on normal Android). YouTube app, Puffin Browser.