Google TV ceases its work


13 October 2013

Google Inc. is ready to say goodbye to its pet project Google TV and planning to get rid of the brand in favor of Android TV. Where the truth is and what benefits are, let’s clear it up together.

Google TV is dead, forever Android TV! First Android TV device was produced three years ago and all this time the detachable device by all means was moved forward but did not gain stunning success. Now Google turns its work for stronger collaborative relationship with Android.

As for statutory declarations Google seems to be not ready to give any comments. All the same, the producers of portable consumer electronics devices in the recent discussion with GigaOM stated that rebranding was put in full and now they do not use the name of the company in production.

Let’s note that some Google partners have already made an instrumental changeover. For example recently Sony introduced new TV smart-adaptor. The device is based on the last version of Google TV but there is not a word in the announcement about it. Jamie Marsh, Sony Electronics TV marketing manager, instead of link to Google TV saw fitting just to add that “the device gained all Google power and it is ready to blow your TV”. The last version of TV Stick Sony is also based on Google TV but you will mot find any reference about it in marketing materials.

Not only Sony “forgot” about Google TV. Last month STMicroelectronics producer acknowledged that his TV production maintains Google resources but in the advertising campaign only Android interoperability was mentioned.

Usage of such phrases as “Android TV” and “Google service for TV” makes us think that branding is not yet finished and the company itself will use different brands with an eye toward certain target audience. Let’s note that for Google this step means something more than just the change of name. TV platform was set off three years ago on the basis of Android cell version and was developed together with first tablets. But eventually the development was stopped, Android reached level 4.3 and Google TV was still stuck on version 3.2. It appeared a real problem for developers.

Google announced about the changes at the start of this year having declared that its TV will be updated to the last Android version which will enable developers to use the same API which is liable for mobile devices. Update to Android 4.2 was officially announced for the 3rd quarter. Android has moved long ago but Google TV was stuck with Honeycomb.

And just recently Google announced about the last version of Android codenamed KitKat which may be available in the early part of the week. The company declared that producers of consumer electronics will be able to upgrade their TV equipment to the last version of Android easily after adoption of version 4.2 and it should be assumed that the producer will have access to KitKat as soon as it is produced for mobile devices. Initially, Google TV requires from devices the presence of full QUERTY keyboard and other instrument details.

Let’s mark that Google fairly had high hopes in favor of its TV product which was first presented in 2010. But neither consumers nor content providers saw its true value. TV viewer did not like complicated setting and unhandy keyboard and broadcast organizations – the idea of free watch of web-content on TV that is why the access to web-sites was often blocked for Google TV. Besides, Google electronic chips cost much more than rival “boxes” such as Roku and Apple. And Logitech, the producer of first generation Google satellite boxes, lost millions for their delivery having forced the Director General Gerald Quindlen to resign.

So why did the company decide to get rid of the brand? The answer is evident but not that easy. It should seem that the main factor is the update to the last version of Android. But this is not the only reason. Maybe the issue is about Chromecast success? For the first time the product approached the market in July, this year and according to unofficial figures sales are good. Moreover, Chromecasts were sold off within a week and at the present time it is number one in sales among Amazon electronic devices, it is the bestseller!

But Chromecast devices were not only more successful than Google TV. This is “correction of errors”. Critics and consumers did not like unhandy remote operating panels of earlier Google TV-sets models that is why they are absent at all at Chromecast the same as human-system interface. Whether Google TV rebranding appears successful and the way the company will put its new ideas into life we will get to know very soon.