As excited as we were more than a year ago, when we first heard of the Google TV concept, we must admit that we were pretty disappointed by how the concept turned out to be in reality.
The pricing and lack of content were the two biggest problems users had with Google TV, so it’s no wonder that the device didn’t draw the kind of public that Google and its partners expected. The second generation of Google TVs should mix things up a bit, as there are now more important manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon.
Also, we've heard talk about the the price of the Smart TV platform being reduced, mostly by replacing Intel chips with ARM processors. Or not? Sony, Samsung, LG, and Vizio have teased us with their second generation of Google TVs, but, up until now, we didn’t have an idea about how the new devices will be priced. Well, we kind of do now, and we must say, we aren’t that impressed.
According to a Sony official, cited by the French website Les Echos, the Japanese electronics giant will be releasing two Google TV devices in Europe this September. Stephane Labrousse, marketing director for Sony France, talked about a set-top box (or a decoder, in plain words) which should go on sale for €200 (around $266), as well as a box with an integrated Blu-ray player to sell for €300 (399 bucks).
Both devices have only been confirmed by Labrousse as coming to France, but it’s pretty safe to assume that they will hit other European markets, like Spain, Germany, and the UK, at around the same time.
Leaving aside for a moment the off-puting prices, we should mention that Sony’s future “boxes” will have a Google Play button on their remote controls, offering direct access to the app store. We also know that the devices will feature Sony’s own content offerings (duh!), including Music Unlimited, as well as a bunch of pre-loaded apps (no details on exactly what apps).
It remains to be seen how will Europeans receive Sony’s new Google TV devices next fall (I would guess, not very good), but also when will Samsung, LG, or Vizio make their own entries in the Euro markets. It will also be interesting to see if second-generation Google TV devices will come to the US before or after hitting Europe, and how they will be priced, considering the strong competition from Apple TV, Roku, or Boxee.
But for the time being, we should not get ahead of ourselves, because maybe, just maybe, the next Google TV's will be as successful as the companies behind them are. What do you guys think?