We have been hearing rumors of Google’s TV ambitions for awhile now, but we finally have some solid facts to go on. Today the curtain has been pulled back, and we have our first official glimpse at the Google TV, the first official “smart television”.
The rumors have been circulating for months. Then in March, the NY Times reported that Google, Intel and Sony had agreed to work together to develop a new TV, with help from others, but rumors is all they were and no one was yet willing to confirm anything. We knew something big was in the works, and we knew it would be a TV that was Internet capable, but that’s it, everything else was speculation. At the Google I/O Conference today, we finally have that confirmation, as well as details.
Google was joined on stage by representatives from Intel, Sony and Logitech- all of whom helped with the development of the new platform, as well as reps from Best Buy, DISH Network, and Adobe who all announced their support.
“Imagine turning on the TV and getting all the channels and shows you normally watch and all of the websites you browse all day”, the Google press release stated, “including your favorite video, music and photo sites. We’re excited to announce that we’ve done just that.”
Google TV is a device that will soon be included in many TVs, or it can be sold as a separate unit. The device will connect your TV to the internet, and essentially create a search engine within your television. Users can type in what they are looking for in a search bar that will be displayed on their TV, and the Google device will search the internet and the cable provider for it.
The device will also allow users to search the web for any content they may want, and watch it on their TVs. The built-in Google Chrome browser with full Flash support will allow full internet access to stream video, listen to music, and view pictures, among other things. It will also feature a menu that allows users to save their favorite channels, websites, and online content.
People have long complained that the OnDemand setup offered by most cable providers is inherently flawed because of the search engine and the limits of searching that menu with a remote control. Google TV will bypass that problem and make searching for a program, website, or video clip simple.
The device itself is powered by the Intel Atom CE4100 processor, and it will feature an Android based platform. Sony will soon be selling TVs with the Google device installed, and Logitech will begin developing a special remote control, keyboard, and other peripherals.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the Google TV is the potential pool of Android apps. Developers are welcomed and encouraged to begin their Google TV specific apps immediately, but Google will soon release a specific development tool kit to developers, and the only limit to the apps is the imagination of those that develop them.
Google’s Android based smartphones will also be integrated into the system, and users can use the phones as TV input devices. For example, a person can speak the name of a TV show into their phone, and it will appear on screen.
Google TV will be available in Fall of this year, but no word yet on price.
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