The New York Times reports that Google is working on something that is called GoogleTV which might see Android on the television running on Intel silicon and using a Logitech keyboard to control the whole thing. The project is rumored to focus on delivering Internet search to the television making content easier to find and display on the television. Sony is reported to be the first adopter of the new platform.
Haven’t we been here before? There have been countless products and services which are designed to bring web connectivity to the television starting with WebTV Networks in the early 1990’s. There is only one problem with this vision. Consumers have repeatedly rejected these solutions. Consumers have a perfectly good platform for accessing the Internet and that is the personal computer. Bringing PC style access to the television is just not appealing to consumers.
This is not to say that consumers do not want Internet connected televisions as they clearly do with Internet enabled televisions selling well in the market today. The services that are appealing to consumers on their Internet enabled televisions are services like Netflix and YouTube where they can find video content that they are interested in and display it on a large screen television instead of the small screen of the personal computer. The combination of video content and quick hit content like news headline and weather that can be accessed via a traditional remote are valued by consumers assuming the performance is adequate and the services are responsive. Bringing a keyboard into the equation takes us back to the PC model of Internet access and consumers have rejected that repeatedly through multiple iterations.
I am speculating here but if these partners are looking to bring PC style Internet access to the television then I would tell them, “Been there done that, didn’t like it.”