Google TV ARM in ARM With Marvell at CES
One of my last stops here at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 11 was to check out what Marvell Semiconductor had done for Google TV.
Few will disagree chipsets aren't as sexy as smart TVs, Blu-ray players or companion boxes, but Marvell aims to be the chief processor OEM for all of those kinds of devices after Intel bowed out gracefully when first-generation Google TV systems from Sony and Logitech failed to sell well.
Marvell at the show unveiled its ForeSight Platform chipset, which leverages the company's Armada 1500 dual-core ARM chipset, whose clock speed is 1.2GHz. That system also has Qdeo post-processing technology and 3D graphics capabilities.
Hana Kang, brand marketing manager for the Armada 1500 chipset told me the chipset consumes less power and will be less costly for OEMs to purchase and place in their Google TV-enabled systems.
OEMs can, in turn, pass this cost savings along to consumers. That's a big deal at a time when it's been hard for OEMs to get their systems in the living rooms of people worldwide.
Kang demoed the chipset running in this reference design box to give me a taste of the Honeycomb-flavored Google TV on ARM:
I have the Logitech Revue; Marvell's chipset seemed to load apps a little faster, which makes sense because it is believed the original Google TV systems used sub-1GHz chips, but I couldn't put it to rigorous testing. Here's the new TV and Movies on Google TV, as I saw it powered by Marvell:
Rishi Chandra, director of product management for Google TV, told The Verge Google picked ARM-based systems in addition to Intel Atom chips because they're cheaper and faster.
Atom chips proved too costly. Just see the demise of the Logitech TV Revue companion box, which failed to sell to scale at $300. So it makes sense that Google would go for a less costly alternative.
Chandra claimed Android is going to be a successful operating system on TVs. Time will tell, but Marvell and Google's other new TV partners should buoy the platform this year.