Google TV – You should buy it, just not yet…

Google TV is headed to your living room, whether you like it or not

I recently purchased the Logitech Revue with Google TV. I absolutely love it. It’s one of the coolest ways to interact with TV to date, and offers the best overall interface for digesting internet streams as well. It is not as simple and intuitive as the Roku boxes, nor as pretty as the Apple TV, yet it is more powerful and capable than both. The Google TV comes with a crazy remote – it’s a full sized wireless keyboard with touchpad, yet that’s not the only way to control it. Android apps allow for easy control, using the device most likely to be in your hand. Google TV is coming, and coming fast.

The Google TV platform got a much needed refresh earlier this year when it was upgraded to “2.0″ or “Android 3.x.” The refresh offers much needed better user experience and a fuller Android Market experience. But the exciting thing about Google TV is not where it is now, but rather the huge potential of the platform. Google TV has been one of the stars of the Consumer Electronics Show this year.

Google TV is coming to living rooms everywhere, in 3 form factors;

  • integrated directly into your HDTV. Sony already does this, LG, Vizio and others are going to as well. I am opposed to this if it costs money, however, because updates will hit with less regularity (and might cost you valuable ports on your TV!)
  • integrated into your set-top box. AWESOME. Everyone knows the user experience of your FiOS/Cable/Satellite box stinks, but Google TV is coming to fix this. Motorola Mobility (owned by Google) also makes set-top boxes, and we should see some really great implementations in the near future.
  • stand alone device. This is what I have (Logitech Revue) and while it is not for everyone (I’d say early adopters only) it is very cool. These will receive the most rapid updates and will be the most standardized devices.

Another big update this week is ARM processor support for Google TV. Since most Android applications are optimized for ARM processors, this represents a big jump forward for the platform. It is far easier to accommodate a small board with the ARM system on a chip design than it is a full ION or Atom instance.

Google TV is definitely going mainstream – and it might well be more a reaction to Apple TV than on any individual merits of the platform. I think the major manufacturers fear getting in bed with Apple and thus are hopping on the Google TV train. Get ready for Google TV, because like it or not, it’s coming to you.

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About Ryan Kamauff

Ryan Kamauff is a senior analyst with Crucial Point LLC. He produces technology focused content for and reports on analytical megatrends at the new analysis focused Analyst One.


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