Is Google TV A Bomb Before It Even Comes To Australia?

First, let's state the obvious: Google TV has awesome potential for music fans, as well as anyone else with a clear motivation to use electronics.

This platform, available in a set-top box or built into televisions and Blu-ray players, could realise the dream of internet-capable electronics that has blistered like a raisin in the sun since the day when WebTV first awkwardly attached a mouse and a keyboard to the television.

Among countless other things, Google TV could let music fans play their tunes on the best speakers in the house, regardless of whether it's stored on their computers, in the cloud, or on the digital music service of their choice. What's not to like?

The thing is, Google TV isn't selling. Retailers are returning Google TVs according to a recent report, leading to a 300 per cent price decrease in the case of Logitech's set-top version - both surely humiliating statistics for Google. The musical equivalent, in the days of vinyl records, would be an album ending up in the "reduced prices" bin before returning to the record plant to be melted down.

How could Google and its high-profile partners Logitech and Sony fail with a concept that bears such great potential? What music fan wouldn't want to use Spotify (or whatever other music app they like) on their television?

Well, because they can't.

Google, like Apple with its Apple TV platform, has largely failed (again, so far) to make Google TV the app platform it could be - something that does to the television what the iPhone and Android did to the mobile phone. Sure, you can run Pandora and Napster on Google TV, but other than that, music fans are left with promises like this one from Logitech's site:

"With more TV apps coming to the Android Market later this year," hems Logitech, "there's no limit to what your TV will be able to do."

By "later this year," Logitech is referring to Google's plan to harness the Android developer community to make apps for - and translate existing apps to - Google TV 2.0. Its strategy: to allow developers for Android's tablet operating system, Honeycomb, to make their creations work on Google TV.

We're waiting for bated breath for the Android Marketp to show up on Google TV 2.0, whether it happens this winter or later this year. This will be the make-or-break moment not only for Google TV as a platform for music, games, and all sorts of other app-delivered cargo, but quite possibly for Android as a tablet platform too.

People have been making fun of Android tablets for months now, due to their low app count compared to the iPad. Now, they're making fun of Google TV too, for this returns issue. By combining these two weak points, Google could give Apple TV, which Steve Jobs said was "a hobby" during its last update, and which also does not let users install apps, a serious run for its money. And unlike on the smartphone or tablet, Android would be first.

If Google's plan works, it could even affect the Android smartphone market. Android smartphones can "Fling" audio or video to Google TV, even if most app developers seem to be ignoring that feature - once again, so far. And as Apple knows all too well, having watched the iPod and iPhone boost its laptop and tablet sales by association, it's all about the ecosystem.

Google TV might look like a laughingstock now, but the combined influence of Honeycomb tablet apps running natively on Google TV and Fling smartphone apps sending content to Google TV could flip the script on Apple before it has the chance to turn Apple TV into something more than just a hobby.

Evolver.fm observes, tracks and analyses the music apps scene, with the belief that it's crucial to how humans experience music, and how that experience is evolving.


Comments

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -Mahatma ghandi.

    Or maybe your product just sucks.

    Ah, can't you mirror an iPad2 onto an appleTV ?, and thus have apps and games. It's not native, but its pretty close. If you are referring to GoogleTV getting apps first, then why refer to Tablets "flinging" music and content when Apple already does that. I've noticed when you show someone an AppleTV, they usually go out and buy one. They are not mainstream, and even if Google was "first" to have a paid appstore on a device, these media players and Australia's internet speeds really don't deliver the experience that they are after.
    Other than that, i'm selling some gear to buy a GoogleTV to see what its all about. I know it wont work with anything in australia and to hack it you need a electronics degree from what i've read. But I still want to give it a go.

    I don't think you can have a 300% price decrease....a 100% price decrease means it's free.......

      A 300% price decrease is so possible..it could be achieved in two ways...they give the customer a 100% refund for the product, and then pay them 200% to take the stupid product back....or if the customer hasn't bought the product yet, they just pay them 300% to take it off they're hands and free the shelving space lol

    I'm buying one on the refresh of their hardware line.. i need flash content on my TV. I live for the NBA and the only decent way to get it, is via ILP (flash web-site)...

    Plus Android rocks in general too.. Very happy with their phones and xoom.. so looking forward to a tv box to tie it together.

    It's as Steve Jobs has said in the same breath he said Apple TV was a hobby. It's a bloody hard market to get into... Everything is localized to regions by copyright holders (read: pandora) and the main audience for these devices (avnerds) quite often have an xbox, ps3, or media pc... So why get something else when the first three provide sufficient options for web browsing, and streaming media.

      ahhh I wouldn't say sufficient...

    Kogan's got an Android Media Player-deely that I've had my eye on for some time.

    Then I bought a Sony TV with USB input and wireless connectivity and stopped looking at it.

    Then I realised I need to buy Sony's propietary USB Wi-Fi adapter [$100], and their media file compatability it poor.

    So I'm back to looking at this Kogan thing.

      You should always know better than to buy Sony. Proprietary memory formats, pushing regional coding, distributing a trojan on music CDs - Sony is not there for the consumer.

        All very true.... but I like my Sony TV :(

    I got Apple TV just last week and it is already a key part of my lounge room entertainment.
    Downloaded TV show streamed to ipad2 via AirVideo then airplayed to the TV....you tube BBC documentaries watched on the big screen via airplay. Wait til iOS5 with full mirroring and it will be even better.

      And your point is?

    Google should have done everything they could to appease the studios. The problem with this was that it was too poorly-supported and they needed these guys in on the ground floor.

    That said, it was a hard sell because there's too much legal red-tape to go through if they want to market a fully-loaded device.

    Better execution, planning and politics could have saved this device.

    Google tv is bad, and another crash-and-burn service from google. There's a good reason for the high return rate.
    Just offer easy to use and uncomplicated software that people can simply use and get back to watching TV. Might try the TVDEVO website.

      It's not bad at all. I have an Logitech Revue and a developer box running the upcoming Honeycomb build. It's a breeze to use and the playback performance is great thanks to its built in H.264 hardware acceleration. With modern builds of Chrome browser and Flash Player you're able to view the majority of modern standards compliant web content. IMO It's the best web experience you can get on a TV short of plugging in an HTPC.

    Im actually really happy with my Apple TV (running with a dodgy US iTunes account) its cheap hassle free and Airplay really is handy, I use that a lot more then I thought I would.

    I think the possibilities of running apps from the iPad on the TV though Airplay is pretty incredible and in a way negates the need for the Apple TV to have apps itself.

    Google TV seems to have bitten off more then it can chew, which is why it's leaving a bad taste in peoples mouths.

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