The original Google TV products were met by lukewarm reviews at best, and according to Geek.com, the search giant is hard at work on its new Google TV 2.0 product. Developers have been joining Google’s new “Fishtank” program to get early access to tools that will allow them to create compelling new content for Google’s next attempt at entering our living rooms. Google TV 2.0 runs a barebones version of Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) and there are reportedly only 50 developers partaking in the initial Fishtank program. Fishtank includes an Intel CE4100 reference platform with a beta version of Google TV 2.0 preloaded, and a wireless keyboard. Intel’s Sodaville SoC, part of the CE4100 reference platform, also includes support for 3D gaming and Flash. Geek.com noticed a new “dual-view” feature that allows users to watch TV and use the OS at the same time; and the user interface has the same glowing-blue Tron-like effects as the tablet version of Honeycomb. Developers are said to be up in arms over the “Live TV” application on Google TV 2.0 — many want to interact with the TV interface directly, but Google isn’t allowing that just yet. Will it be enough for Google to tackle Apple TV? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, another shot of the box and a couple of UI images can be seen after the break. More →
Google on Tuesday announced its first major update to the Honeycomb OS. Key feature additions in Honeycomb 3.1 include resizable home screen widgets, added support for new input devices like enhanced keyboards, mice, trackpads and even dedicated gaming controllers. Another key addition is enhanced multitasking support for more fluid transitions and reduced crashes. In addition, Honeycomb will be coming to Google TV in version 3.1 via an automatic OTA update. Among the notable Google TV-specific features is the addition of Android Market support, which will allow third-party apps to be delivered to Google TV devices just like they are on smartphones and tablets.
Google has stated that the Android Market would become available on Google TV-enabled products some time in early 2011, and it looks as though a launch is now imminent. In an update pushed through this morning, Google has added a new filtering option that checks whether or not the device accessing the Market has a touchscreen. As all currently available Android devices are equipped with touch-friendly panels, we’re likely looking at one of the first steps in the process that will bring Market access to Google TV devices. Google has not yet confirmed that the new “android.hardware.touchscreen” filter is directly related to Google TV, but the writing is certainly on the wall — or screen, as it may be. Hit the break for a screen shot showing the filter in question and if you’re a Google TV user, get ready for the nearly endless possibilities third-party development affords. More →
There’s nothing like free gear to help greet one of the biggest consumer electronics shows of the year, and Logitech has just what the doctor ordered this year at CES 2011. The company is giving away 360 Logitech Revue units this week. The Revue is Logitech’s new set top box featuring Google TV, and it definitely is not in the midst of a production halt. It’s a great little box and for the low, low price of free-fifty, it can’t be beat. The first 50 units will be given away on January 5th, and another 100 will be given away each day from January 6th through the 8th. Winners will have to watch Logitech’s Twitter account for instructions on how to hunt down a chance to win at the show. The winners of the boxes mentioned above will be CES attendees but 10 more boxes will be given away on January 9th, and can be had by anyone in the United States. To find out how you can enter to win, just follow Logitech on Twitter at the link below. More →
According to an unconfirmed report in The Seattle Times, Microsoft is preparing to demonstrate a new home entertainment product set to combat Apple TV and Google TV. The rumored service will supposedly be demonstrated this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Said to be powered by a “stripped-down version of Windows tailored for set-top boxes and connected TVs,” a customized version of Windows Embedded is the likely candidate for this type of product. The devices are also said to feature a UI similar to the Windows Media Center interface, and will include a “polished and familiar TV-program guide that makes it easy to blend and navigate both online and broadcast content.” While no manufacturing partners were revealed in the report, an initial round of Windows TV boxes will apparently go on sale later this year for around $200. More →
Vizio is currently the only manufacturer to have a passive 3DTV set on the market, and they aren’t slowing down their Theater 3D TV assault. The company has just announced that they will be releasing 21 models which range in sizes from 21-inches to 71-inches and feature varying LED backlit and edge lit models, sets with Yahoo! Widgets, and even a few Google TV televisions. Passive 3D TVs don’t require active, battery-powered glasses which are larger, heavier, and usually can cause greater eye strain than passive glasses. Plus, you’ll be able to rock those fashionable Oakley or Gucci 3D glasses — wins all around. Full press release after the break. More →
Logitech has responded to rumors that it had been asked to halt production of its Google TV-enabled Logitech Revue while Google addresses bugs and other usability issues. In a statement delivered via email to Barron’s, Logitech spokesperson Nancy Morrison denied the reports, saying Google made no such request.
Logitech has not been asked by Google to suspend production of its Google TV products. As those familiar with the product know, it is not necessary for Logitech to make changes to the Logitech Revue with Google TV companion box to accommodate future enhancements to Google TV. Every Logitech Revue companion box will receive free over-the-air updates whenever Google and Logitech release software enhancements.
Logitech is currently meeting the inventory needs of its retail customers, continuing to ship products on schedule to meet their holiday and post-holiday demand.
Logitech does not discuss the specific production plans for any of its products. As high-volume manufacturer of electronic products, Logitech’s use of its own factories as well as those of its manufacturing partners, provides the company with flexibility in how and when it produces products to accommodate customer demand.
According to a report in The New York Times Monday morning, Google TV might not be ready for primetime. Google TV is Google’s attempt at a next-generation WebTV service — a combination of television and the Web meant to expand and enhance the viewing experience. But the initial iteration of Google’s service seems just as half-baked as WebTV was in the mid-1990s. Google reportedly wants more time to refine the software, which has not been well received by reviewers or early adopters. Sony and Logitech both have products out to market already, but Toshiba, LG and Sharp were all set to show off new Google TV products at the Consumer Electronics Show next month. Google has apparently asked the companies to hold off so it can “refine the software.” The report does not address whether or not the companies agreed to hold their Google TV offerings, though changing plans would be anything but easy at this point. CES kicks off in less than three weeks on January 6th. More →
Following Netgear’s announcement Tuesday that it would offer a $90 set top box powered by Roku’s software, it looks as though Roku is playing with alternative models in an effort to stay competitive. Roku gained notoriety in 2008 by providing an easy solution for streaming Netflix Watch Instantly video content to television sets. The company has since expended its product through partnerships that brought additional content from the likes of Amazon Video On Demand, MLB.TV and Hulu. With a growing content library and three new hardware products starting at just $59.99, Roku still finds in the precarious position of having to compete with the likes of Google, which recently launched Google TV, and Apple, which refreshed its Apple TV offering last month.
In an effort to combat the aforementioned giants, Roku is licensing out its software. The first taker, Netgear, announced the Netgear Roku Player NTV250 earlier this week, which is already available at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Fry’s, Amazon.com and Buy.com. Roku hopes that by letting larger hardware partners do the heavy lifting, it can spread its net as wide as possible and let the simplicity of its software carry partner offerings. There’s no question Roku has a great product, but Google has shown that it plans to be very aggressive with Google TV and Apple sold a quarter-million Apple TVs in just six weeks. Roku tells BGR that its business couldn’t be better right now but with competition like Apple and Google, Roku has its work cut out for it. More →
We had a chance to get up close and personal with Sony’s latest TV set and sister Blu-ray player. Here are our first thoughts:
- We haven’t seen Logitech’s Revue Google TV device in person, but the Sony experience looks similar to it. Sony told us that the only Sony customization was a recommended channel area, so for you purists out there, it looks like this is a really clean Google offering.
- We caught some lag when hopping menu to menu and typing when using the remote sometimes took a second or two to catch up but all in all, the Intel Atom-powered TV seemed pretty zippy.
- Speaking of the remote, we’re completely torn about it. Andrew loves it, but I couldn’t care much for it. The size is definitely intriguing as it is way smaller in person than we expected it to be. Also, the feel is right — pretty light without feeling inexpensively cheap. However, the myriad of buttons sort of confuses us, especially when a bunch of them don’t serve a purpose 90% of the time in what we’d imagine would be your daily use. I’ll use my Android handset to control my Google TV device as opposed to a manufacturer remote, you can believe that. Last thing about the remote… no backlight! So sad.
- The picture in picture capability is practically the selling point here… if you’re a multitasker, you’re going to love with PIP on. It’s pretty amazing that you can have that picture window of the current TV show or recording you’re watching open on the screen and at the same time browse a website, check something on Google Maps, search for a program to record, and more.
- The range in sizes and price is pretty spectacular. At a cost of $1,399 for the 46″ edge-lit LED model is practically a steal — and the time to market is also delicious as the sets and Blu-ray player will be available this weekend.
All in all, this wasn’t something we didn’t expect, yet we’re incredibly excited for Sony to pioneer this new category of TV entertainment. Let’s see if they can knock it out of the park…
Today, social networking company Twitter announced two upcoming features being added to their platform: promoted content and Google TV compatibility. First, promoted content. Twitter has been dabbling in promoting individual tweets since back in April. “Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets that businesses and organizations want to highlight to a wider group of users,” explains the company. Initially, Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America tested out the service (see below).
Twitter has now taken this model to its next logical step, and introduced promoted accounts for its corporate users. As the company explains:
Promoted Accounts are suggested based on a user’s public list of whom they follow. When an advertiser promotes an account, Twitter’s algorithm looks at that account’s followers and determines other accounts that those users tend to follow.
The addition of promoted accounts is another example of how Twitter is trying to monetize itself without the use of standard image/text based adverts.
On the heels of that announcement, Twitter also announced that it would make its service available to future purchasers of the yet-to-be-released Google TV. The company’s Google TV offering will allow users to browse their timeline, view @mentions and favorites, as well as reply, retweet, favorite, and share content found on the social networking site. Twitter quips, “Tweets aren’t just about TV shows; they are part of them. [...] This is just the beginning of what could be possible at the intersection of Twitter and television. We’re excited to see what’s next.” More →
Earlier today, Google posted a quick update on the status of their soon-to-be-released Google TV home entertainment product. The company noted “overwhelming” interest by content providers while announcing several of the viewing modules that will be available when Google TV launches. Google announced that Turner Broadcasting, NBC Universal, HBO, the NBA, Amazon, Pandora, Napster, Netflix, The New York Times, and USA Today will all have content that is optimized for viewing via Google’s internet connected set-top box. Like all streaming services currently offered, providers will not make all of their programming available via Google TV… but it is a start. Hit the jump to check out a quick video of just what Google TV will look like. More →
Combining the web and TV in an orgy of awesome, today at I/O 2010, Google announced Google TV. With the goal of mashing together the web and TV without accepting compromise, Google is hoping to let people take advantage of the biggest and best screen in their house. Check out all of the features after the jump! We promise it’s awesome. More →