Google TV 2.0 is rolling out on Sony TVs and Logitech Revue boxes Oct. 30. The Honeycomb upgrade includes better search for TV and YouTube, as well as Android Market apps.
(NASDAQ:GOOG) said its belated Google TV refresh will begin rolling out Oct.
30, bringing with it an upgrade from the current Android 2.1 platform to
Android 3.1 Honeycomb, as well as better search and access to applications from
the Android Market.
than a year ago on Logitech Revue set-top boxes
and Sony Internet
televisions and Blu-ray players, Google TV is the company's Web TV service,
which lets consumers mingle TV channel and Web search. The Android-based
platform included applications such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video
out-of-the box, as well as Google's Chrome Web browser to access the Web.
was severely criticized by reviewers who felt Google TV 1.0 was too difficult
for the average user to set up, was too buggy and shipped too soon. Like Apple
TV and other comparable services before it, Google TV failed to gain a lot of
traction among mainstream consumers, remaining mostly a hobby to die-hard
Google fans. Logitech lost a lot of money on the boxes, which were discounted from $299 to $249, and finally to $99
Google TV 2.0
, which the company had promised
would be out this past summer, includes changes from the starting point. This
includes a new customizable home screen and an "all apps" section
where users can access their application shortcuts from the bottom of the
screen. It's not unlike the application menu for Android phones and tablets.
service has better search for applications such as Netflix, YouTube Leanback
and live TV. Moreover, a new TV & Movies application lets users skim
through 80,000 movies and TV shows hosted on cable, satellite, Netflix, Amazon,
YouTube and other source Websites.
your one-stop shop for finding all of this great content, regardless of whether
it's part of your Netflix subscription, the Web or your TV service," a
YouTube spokesperson told eWEEK.
Google is also
providing users access to applications from the company's Android Market.
Google is starting off with hundreds of applications. That includes 50 applications
optimized for TV
, such as Pandora, Flixster and CNBC. However, applications requiring
a touch-screen, GPS or telephony won't be included in the early going.
story here is that YouTube is going to become an increasingly more crucial
component of Google TV. Already the most heavily used application on the
service, YouTube has been more closely integrated with Google TV search, which
allows users to fashion topics such as clips on cooking or music into a
As YouTube evolves into a professional broadcast platform
Google TV will become the biggest medium for the service. Users will have the
opportunity to access YouTube movies, music, games and other content genres
through the Chrome browser on Google TVs worldwide.
spokesperson said the Honeycomb upgrade will be coming to Sony devices starting
Oct. 30, with Logitech Revue boxes getting it soon thereafter. Moreover, Google
plans to offer new Google TV devices on new chipsets from multiple hardware
partners. Users may also expect to see integration between Google TV and
Google+. Think Google+ Hangouts done right on a Google TV-enabled TV equipped
with a Webcam.
initial version of Google TV wasn't perfect, but launching it gave us the
opportunity to learn," noted Mario Queiroz, vice president of product
management, and Vincent Dureau, director of engineering for Google TV. "This
is still early days, and we know it will take time to get it right-we're in a
marathon, not a sprint-and with each update, we take another step forward.
It's true that
it is early days for mainstream Web TV; it would behoove Google to get Google
TV right. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is reportedly working on an overhauled Apple
Television that would include a full Web browser and access to iCloud and the
latest speculation is that Apple's Siri virtual assistant, which is tickling
users of the iPhone 4S with its artificially intelligent contextual awareness,
is allegedly going to be the focal interface for the TV, obviating the clumsy,
cartoonish remote controls for the Logitech Revue and other platforms.