By Harry McCracken | Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 6:12 am
The New York Times’ Nick Bilton is reporting that Google, Intel, Sony, and Logitech are collaborating on a new platform for Internet-enabled TV called…Google TV, of course. Bilton doesn’t have a lot of detail, but he says that it’ll be an open-source platform that can run third-party apps; that it will include Google search; that it will run the Android OS and Chrome browser on Intel’s Atom processor; and that Logitech is working on remote controls, including one with a tiny QWERTY keyboard. Google has a prototype box, but the technology could be built into TVs; consumer products may arrive as soon as this summer.
It would have been startling if Google didn’t try to something along these lines, given that TV remains one of the most important screens in the lives of millions of people, and one without any Google presence to date. And nobody’s figured out how to build an Internet TV platform that’s truly a breakout hit–even Apple, which famously keeps insisting that Apple TV is a mere hobby. Roku and Vudu are both pretty nifty, but neither is close to becoming a household name.
If Google’s plans involve an open platform that other companies can build apps for, they sound similar–in broad strokes, at least–to what Yahoo offers in its Connected TV technology. Which is well-done and available on a bunch of TVs from multiple major manufacturers, yet also kind of obscure.
So do teeming masses of real people even want the Internet on their TV? Or is it just that nobody to date has come up with anything that has the right features at the right price? I’m still not sure, so I look forward to more companies giving it a try–and I’m curious to see what Google and friends have in store.