During the final day of Google I/O last week, we saw Google unveil Google TV along with its launch partners Adobe, Logitech, Intel, Best Buy, Dish Network, and Sony. The CEOs of each of these companies made their appearances and spoke with Google CEO Eric Schmidt on stage about what Google's offering will mean to the future of television, as well as what each of their respective offerings would bring to the table. Following this, we attended a smaller press event in which the CEOs talked about it a little more.
During the event, Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer was asked why his company had decided to partner with Google all of a sudden, when it already offers existing Internet-connected televisions. He responded that its previous offerings have only connected to the web at a fairly low level, and that Google TV is much broader. "This is a much more robust platform," he said.
Google says its goal with Google TV is to create a new category of devices built around openness, and that it needs the help of the entire TV ecosystem to push it forward. "We believe in open platforms," Stringer said.
He also said they think the companies' partnership "will migrate to many other products." In fact, Stringer was asked if consumers could expect Google TV integration with Sony Playstation, to which he responded that Sony's working with Google on one product at a time. Judging from the looks between Stringer and Schmidt, it certainly didn't seem like the idea was ruled out.
Stringer was asked how much a Google TV box would cost, to which he responded with a chuckle that all the other manufacturers would need a box "unless they copy us". At this point, Sony has only talked about TVs and Blu-ray players.
Google TV is the brand of the platform. There will be numerous products from various manufacturers, and they will have their own brands built on top of it. For example, Sony's TVs are called simply Sony Internet TV.
Google says it wants to work with existing TVs as well. Google compares its strategy for Google TV to its strategy for Android. VP, Engineering Vic Gundotra says he thinks Google TV will see similar success to that of Android. Google says it can adopt other partners as it sees fit, and that the reason it chose Sony is that they're a leading brand in the space and have had great innovation.
In the keynote itself, Eric Schmidt even said something along the lines of "Sony is television for me."
During the keynote, Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn said that once you actually see what Google TV can do, you're like, "I need one." Because of this, he says he thinks it's going to be broadly accepted. Stringer agreed that "it really is a very big deal."
The Sony TVs and Blu-Ray players should be available at Best Buy in time for the holidays.