Google announced in May this year it was going to revolutionize your TV by turning it into a computer. It seemed, at the time, like a winning convergence of the two major gadgets in your house. And Logitech was supposed to be making the set top boxes to convert your TV. The big coming-out party was going to be at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early next year. Only it’s not going to happen. Google has asked those companies making the sets and the boxes to delay their introduction.
Google would not say whether demonstrations had been delayed, but it is understood that it has asked LG, Toshiba and Sharp not to display the system at the event, as it intends to update and repair the software.
The request – made just weeks before the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month – has thrown some manufacturers off guard, the Times said.
Sony, the electronics and entertainment giant, which developed the Google TV with the Internet search giant, and Intel started selling models in October. Logitech, the Swiss technology company, also sells Google TVs.
Sony acknowledged on Monday that reviews of its Internet-enabled Google TV had been mixed, but the company remained upbeat about its prospects. Sony shipped some Google TVs in October, but the Times said so far the software’s reception has been lukewarm. The product allows consumers to watch shows and movies streamed over the Web on their TV.
Speaking to reporters in Tokyo on Monday, Hiroshi Yoshioka, Sony’s executive deputy president and head of Sony’s television business, said sales of the Google TVs were “in line with expectations,” though he declined to give specific numbers.
He said sales were likely to pick up when more services were available from Google for televisions, including Android Market, from which users will be able to download applications onto their sets in early 2011.
Mr. Yoshioka agreed that initial reviews of the television were mixed. “Some reviews have been good, some have been bad,” he said. “It might take a little longer for users to really start having fun” with Google TVs, he said.
Under Sony’s deal with Google, the first Google TVs were shipped in October, starting at $600 for a 24-inch HD flat-screen unit to $1,400 for a 46-inch TV. Sony and Logitech also sell complementary appliances that let people tap into the Google TV software without replacing their televisions.
The analysts of the industry made sure that the sudden change of the plans of Google reflects ” a weakness in the managerial culture of the company concerning the management of relations with the associates “. One of the spokeswomen of Google, Gina Weakley has refused to speak of ” rumors and speculations ” about the products.
” Our target in the long term is to collaborate with a manufacturers’ wide community of electronics of consumption to help to impel the next generation of TV sets and we hope with interest to work with other associates to put more devices on the market in the next years “,. For the time being, the TV sets of the companies Samsung and Vizio will be the only ones that Google Tv incorporates in the CES of January.
The Google TV software is complex, requiring a remote control that includes a mouse and keyboard. And there are smaller problems, as when the windows to watch TV and browse the Web simultaneously sometimes cover up crucial commands.
Despite these limitations, the major TV makers were prepared to jump on the Google TV bandwagon. In particular, they hoped to blunt any lead established by Sony.
Now the TV makers have been asked to hold off on releasing products until Google completes the new version of its software, adding features like an application store.
“We will not be announcing a Toshiba TV or Blu-ray player or demonstrating the products at C.E.S.,” said Jeff Barney, the vice president of Toshiba’s digital products division. “We have an understanding with Google about the future product roadmap and will bring the right product out at the right timeframe.”
NYT analyst said:
“‘Google as a company is not a particularly partner-friendly or partner-focused company,’ said James L. McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester, who added that because of the delay, it might take another year before Google TV has a chance to catch fire.”
McQuivey reckons the company needs to learn how to charm its potential partners – on the content side too. As he told the NYT:
“Google needs to learn some of those abilities — both in terms of partnerships with broadcasters and working with hardware partners,” he said. “You can give me the recipe for the absolute best chocolate chip cookies in the world, but until I put the ingredients together and bake them at exactly the right temperature for the right time, they’re not cookies, and that’s where Google TV is.”