At the I/O Conference this week, Google said that it will be bringing Android 3.1 to Google TV later this year. In addition, the company said that developers will finally have the SDK they need to start delivering Google TV-based applications.
For those who currently own Google TV-based devices, like the Logitech Revue, that’s good news. Right now, those folks are using a platform that, by and large, has done little to justify its price. Worst of all, for months, it seemed that Google had turned its back on the platform, allowing it to languish on store shelves.
But now that we know Google TV isn’t dead, what is Google actually going to do to help revive the service? Consumers aren’t so quick to forget major issues. And when Google TV launched, it was a downright loser.
I can’t help but wonder if it’s too little, too late.
Now, I’m sure there are some out there that would disagree with that sentiment. They would say that the first run of any product is expected to be a little rough around the edges. And they might also say that Google TV was better than some folks have given it credit for.
But I’m not so quick to agree. Google TV had hype and it had potential. But Google and its vendor partners quickly scuttled that by launching a service that wasn’t ready.
Overcoming the challenge of making people forget that will be difficult, to say the least. The Apple TV is selling reasonably well, a growing number of televisions are shipping with key applications, including Netflix, built-in, and game consoles are still offering the best value proposition in the set-top box market. Like it or not, Google TV seems like an extra, unnecessary option in today’s marketplace.
In order to even come close to changing that, Google will need to drastically alter its strategy for selling people on the Google TV again. In some ways, the search giant has already committed the biggest misstep it could in the set-top box market, and now its charge is to repair that damage.
But can it? I just don’t know. Google TV was supposed to be the savior for living room entertainment. It’s now considered an outright dud. And changing consumer perception months after the first Google TV product launched and Google even paid a modicum attention to it hasn’t helped matters.
Sorry, but even with these recent announcements, I just don’t know if Google TV has much of a future. Google still hasn’t proven to consumers why they should opt for its platform over all others. And until it can do that, look for the market to turn to alternatives, including the Apple TV.