LG "Nexus" Google TV tipped

LG and Google are collaborating on what could become the first Nexus Google TV, sources inside the project claim, with the search company considering giving its Korean partner early access to a future version of the smart TV software. The deal would follow the pattern already set with HTC and Samsung on the Nexus range of smartphones, two insiders tell Bloomberg, with LG's TV being positioned as the flagship Google TV device and an example for other manufacturers to follow.

LG unveiled a Google TV-powered range of HDTVs at CES this week, using the same Honeycomb-based v2 iteration of the platform that has already been pushed out to existing Logitech and Sony hardware. However, this new arrangement would give LG privileged access to Google's third-gen version, which is expected to be released by the end of 2012.

Although Android is open-source, and manufacturers have broad scope to modify and implement the OS as they see fit, Google has used the Nexus program to lead vendors in the direction it sees best for the platform. The original, HTC-made Nexus One kick-started faster processors and bigger, better displays, while the Samsung Nexus S introduced NFC. Most recently, the Galaxy Nexus has pushed screen resolution and debuted Ice Cream Sandwich.

Having seen a shaky start, Google TV could potentially be brought back on track with a flagship device to help Google outline the hardware possibilities of the platform alongside the software. No timescale for the LG set's release has been indicated, and indeed a spokesperson for the manufacturer said no decision on the partnership has been made; Google declined to comment.

It's possible that Google's third-gen TV version could be based on Ice Cream Sandwich, the platform that the company expects to run on both smartphones and tablets and streamline app development for each. Lenovo revealed an ICS-based set this week, the K91 smart TV, though it uses a custom UI rather than Google TV.