Uh-oh. Samsung and Google are still in talks regarding its upcoming Google TV offering. Reuters is reporting that Samsung’s president indicated that the two companies are in “late-stage talks” and that Samsung’s devices will launch in early 2012, just not at CES like it was previously thought.
Google has been working with Samsung for sometime now. In fact Samsung demonstrated a Google TV companion device at last year’s CES. Here’s a demo and the press release. But here we are, almost a full year later and Samsung has still yet to release a model, which in retrospect, was probably for the best. Isn’t that right, Logitech?
Reuters also reports that Sammy’s models will be different from the “those of competitors.” This begs a question, though: How will it be different?
There are currently three mainstream Google TV products available: the Logitech Revue, the Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Player and the Sony Internet TV. The Logitech is a simple set-top box with a full size QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard is great for serious typing. I wrote the majority of TechCrunch’s original Google TV review directly on the device. Sony took a different route. Both of its models use a Playstation-style controller. One version is a Blu-ray Player while the other is a HDTV with Google TV directly baked in. The three models seem to cover all the hardware variations available.
The only logical difference could be in a custom user interface. Google TV is essentially Honeycomb reskinned for a larger screen. If Samsung wants their models to stand out — and they usually do — perhaps they turned to the same engineers that designed its current line of Internet TVs. Samsung’s Smart TVs have been doing the app dance for several years now. The platform already has a modest app development community and the amount of downloaded apps surpassed 2 million last January. Samsung isn’t likely to abandon one already seemingly successful platform for a struggling one.
But the talks aren’t done yet. Something could fall through. Samsung clearly doesn’t mind waiting until the time is right. Google TV needs Samsung more than Samsung needs Google TV.