Marvell’s ARM-Based Chipset Tapped For New Google TV Units

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Everyone has already seen what the Google TV 2.0 update looks like, but Google and their hardware partners have been pretty tight-lipped about what kind of hardware will eventually run the show. Well, that ends today — chipset vendor Marvell has just announced that their new their ARM-based Foresight platform will be providing the power for this year’s new crop of Google TV devices.

Wait, ARM-based? Yep, the Foresight platform is powered by Marvell’s Armada 1500 HD SoC, a pretty drastic shift considering that the original Google TV devices all sported Intel processors. Still, given all of the issues customers have had with the x86-based units like the Logitech Revue, it isn’t a huge surprise to see Google switch architectures.

Fortunately, the Armada chipset is no slouch — it sports a 1.2GHz dual-core processor that’s capable to decoding two 1080p video streams simultaneously. On top of that, it’s been tuned for more efficient power management, which does two important things for home theater aficionados. First, it keeps their (probably considerable) power bill from getting even worse, and it also allows for a fanless design that should cut down on ambient sound.

It’s a considerable coup for Marvell as they’re not exactly one of the big players in the semiconductor space — recent rankings from iSuppli peg them as number 18 in terms of revenue while more familiar names like Intel and TI take the number one and three spots respectively. If Google TV manages to take off in a big way and Marvell can keep up with production, we may soon see the smart TV landscape take on a distinctly Google-y slant, although Apple may have something to say about that.