/// Google TV Software Update Ready, but New Hardware Will Have to Wait
On Friday, Google is announcing that it is finally done with a significant overhaul to its Google TV software that brings a number of new features, including support for Android apps and an overhaul of the user interface. Google had originally said that the software update would come this summer and that it would be quickly followed by new hardware. Now, the company said would-be Google TV buyers will have to stick with the existing products from Sony and Logitech or wait until early next year for second-generation products, which Google has said will come from Vizio and Samsung, among others. “We think we’ve done right by taking a little more time is to build a really strong platform,” Google TV head Mario Queiroz said in a telephone interview. Google first previewed the new look for its TV product at its I/O conference in May. Google said the update will be made available first to Sony products starting on Sunday and shortly after that to those with Logitech-based products. Initial sales of the Google TV product were quite weak , with hardware partners forced to slash prices, particularly Logitech, which has been selling its Revue set top box for $99 in an effort to sell its excess inventory. Google’s Queiroz said it sees the TV effort as a long-term one and notes it has doubled the number of people working on the project (though he refused to give any exact numbers on that) The new version of the product is based on the Honeycomb version of Android and can run some existing programs as well as a number of new apps specifically designed to work with Google TV. However, most Android apps won’t work as they require features such as telephony or a touch screen. Queiroz said that of the hundreds of thousands of Android apps, there should be around 1,800 apps that actually work with Google TV initially. And even most of those won’t be optimized for the TV. The company has been working with about 50 developers on the first TV-optimized apps, he said. For its part, Google said it has improved the Chrome browser and YouTube apps to be more TV-friendly and added a movies and television app that makes it easier to find the content you want to watch, whether it is coming from your cable or satellite subscription, from services like Amazon or Netflix or from the broader Internet. Another big shift is in how Google is positioning the TV product. After spooking Hollywood early on, the compay is taking great pains to position the TV product as a complement to, rather than a replacement for, broadcast television.
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Google TV Software Update Ready, but New Hardware Will Have to Wait