Google TV Honeycomb Upgrade Comes to Logitech Revue

Google TV's Honeycomb upgrade has finally come to the Logitech Revue box, which is at an end-of-life stage in terms of development.

Logitech's Revue companion box is getting the Google TV upgrade, more than a month after Sony TVs and Blu-ray players received the first major upgrade of the search engine's Web TV application.

Google upgraded the platform from Android 2.1 to Android 3.1 in October, starting with Sony's Internet TVs and Blu-ray players. The new Google TV includes a customizable home screen and an "all apps" section where users can access their application shortcuts from the bottom of the screen.

There is better search for applications such as Netflix, YouTube and live TV, and a new TV & Movies application lets users skim through 80,000 movies and TV shows from Netflix and other sources.

Most significantly, the new Google TV provides access to Google's Android Market application store, including 50 applications optimized for TV, such as the new Google Music app, Pandora, Flixster and CNBC.

Now the Honeycomb reboot is coming to the Revue box. Just as with the Sony devices, the upgrade will be delivered over the air, according to Ashish Arora, vice president and general manager of Logitech's Digital Home Group.

"If you're already a Revue user, simply ensure your unit is turned on and connected to the Web, and accept the update that pops up onto your TV screen,"Arora said in a corporate blog post. "New customers are expected to receive this version automatically upon activation."

Google TV, which marries Web and channel surfing, launched on Logitech's Revue companion box and Sony Internet TVs and Blu-ray players more than a year ago.

Google TV hasn't gained much traction for Sony or Logitech, which bailed on the platform last month after losing almost $100 million on it. Consumers simply didn't purchase enough Revue boxes at $299, then discounted to $249 and finally $99.

Google isn't giving up on Google TV so easily. The company has a lot riding on Google TV, which it wants to pair with the increasingly professional-looking YouTube.

Google sees YouTube, which offers streaming movies to compete with Netflix and Amazon, as well as original content channels to compete with broadcast television, as a major new content destination.

Paired with the Google TV platform, YouTube could drive oodles of ads to consumers. It's a strategic play to snatch some of the advertising money broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and NBC enjoy for putting tons of content in front of hundreds of millions of consumers during prime time viewing hours.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said at Le Web Dec. 7 he expects most TVs to have Google TV by the middle of next year, a bold hope given the current state of the platform.