Thursday, May 20, 2010

Google TV unveiled at developer conference; Sony, Logitech are partners in Internet-enabled television

As promised, Google unveiled its new Google TV software at the Google I/O event at Moscone Center in San Francisco today. Google TV is a collaboration between Google, Sony and Logitech. Google TV will be based on the Android platform and will incorporate the Chrome web browser to access content.

According to Google, users will be able to access information about channel offerings, as well as cloud-based information and applications, as well as other content including Flash content. Google TV should be available to consumers starting in the Fall.

Logitech's companion box for sets
without built-in 
Google TV. →

Sony's part of the collaboration is presumably building sets that will incorporate not only Google's software, but an Intel Atom processor CE4100 that will power the Internet browsing. For those sets without the built-in capability, Logitech will be there to provide boxes that can be plugged into existing sets.

“We are very proud to be working with this distinguished set of partners, all of whom have decades of experience in hardware, design and retail,” said Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman and CEO in a release.

Gerald Quindlen, President and CEO, Logitech said, “We committed to Google TV early on because it aligns with our strategy to support open platforms that enable new immersive experiences in the digital living room. While Google TV enables seamless discovery of all your content, Logitech enables seamless control over how you experience that content. We look forward to continued collaboration with Google and the developer community to create new Google TV experiences that have yet to be imagined.”

Other partners in the venture include DISH Network, who presumably will be integrating Google's software into its satellite boxes, and Best Buy, who will be on the retail side. Also included at the announcement was Shantanu Narayen, President and CEO of Adobe, who was more than happy to remind everyone that there is still a place for Flash.

Because the system will be based on the Android platform, owners of Google TV will be able to access apps developed for Android, though resolution issues will force developers to optimize their existing Android apps for the new setting.

Here is the companion video demonstrating Google TV:

My first impression? My God, what a threat to the current commercial television model!

It is already the case that TV viewers are more and more likely to watch on-demand programming, videos, and the like. Google TV moves this forward in a way that Apple couldn't with its own Apple TV.

The future is obviously in content being available everywhere. It appears that television is going to move in that direction, as well, whether the networks want it to or not.

A good example may be ABC's iPad app which is wildly popular, and for good reason. The other networks will have to play along or get lost in the shuffle.