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Sunday, 23 May 2010 17:26

Google, Sony and Android: TV and much, much more


In the wake of Google's announcement of the Google Android-based TV, Google and Sony have unveiled plans for Android-based entertainment products that go well beyond TV. And other partners have joined the Google TV bandwagon.

Google TV is based on the Android platform and runs the Google Chrome web browser. Users can access all of their usual TV channels as well as Internet and cloud-based information and applications, including Adobe Flash-based content - "all from the comfort of their own living room and with the same simplicity as browsing the web."

The Sony Internet TV, billed as the world's first to incorporate the 'Google TV' platform will be the first fruit of a new alliance between Sony and Google. It is scheduled to launch in the US the northern Autumn of 2010. There will be a standalone TV and a set-top box with inbuilt Blue-Ray disc drive.

The two have given no indication of what else will come from their alliance or when. However, as iTWire has reported on a number of occasions, there is already a strong movement to take Android into the consumer entertainment market.

Google and Sony say that, through their alliance they will "provide a range of new and rich entertainment experiences that combine Google's open-source Android OS platform with Sony's expertise in technology and product design [through] the joint development of compelling new Android-based hardware products for the home, mobile and personal product categories."


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Google says the alliance will enable it to "draw on Sony's cutting-edge technologies, renowned engineering quality, groundbreaking design and diverse product and content portfolio to gain a comprehensive platform from which to drive the adoption of its Android OS across the CE industry."

Sony says the alliance will enable it to deliver "new levels of connectivity and Internet integration across our range of assets and product categories."

Intel, Adobe, Logitech and US pay TV network, Dish Network are also backing Google TV. At the Announcement of Google TV, and the Google I/O developers' conference in San Francisco, Intel, Sony and Logitech, together with Best Buy, Dish Network and Adobe, joined Google on the stage to announce their support for Google TV.

According to Google, when coupled with the Intel Atom processor CE4100, Intel's latest system-on-a-chip designed specifically for consumer electronics, the new platform will offer "home theatre quality A/V performance."

Google TV is designed to work with any TV operator, but Google said that: "at launch the user experience will be fully optimised when paired with Dish Network." Dish claims to be "America's fastest-growing pay-TV provider."


Dish Network subscribers using Google TV will be able to simultaneously search for content across Dish Network, the Internet and their DVRs. They will be able to overlay online content related to television shows, movies, actors etc, and also hyperlink web content back to multichannel TV.

The Dish Network Google TV integration is the outcome of a joint development process between the two companies that began over a year ago by beta testing the technology with more than 400 Dish Network and Google users.

Google and Dish Network plan to make the optimised Google TV experience available to customers later in the Northern Autumn. Dish Network will install the software on all HD DVR receivers. Users will be able to exploit this functionality simply by connecting their Google TV devices to their Dish Network receivers via HDMI.

In a posting on Logitech's blog site, Ashish Arora, vice president and general manager of Logitech's Digital Home Group, said:

"To help bring Google TV to life, Logitech will offer the first retail companion box to work with the platform, which will deliver Google TV to the 60 million HDTVs already in US living rooms today.

"The Logitech companion box will leverage our Harmony remote technology to give you seamless control over how you interact with your content. In addition, the Logitech companion box will include a controller that's specifically designed to optimise the Google TV experience - combining a compact keyboard, remote control and touchpad.

"We will also offer a collection of additional products for Google TV, including an HDTV camera and video calling software so you can talk with friends and family from the comfort of your couch, as well as apps to turn your smart phone into a Google TV controller."



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