Google TV’s chances for a second coming, showcased a few months ago in this column, may have turned brighter. If so, you can thank a $12.5 billion bet in of all things, hardware.
The hardware bet is Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, the side of Motorola normally associated with mobile phones and smartphones. Naturally, most of the blogoshere and technopress sphere focuses on how this deal, when approved by regulatory authorities, impacts Android, Google’s operating system for applications. Or how Motorola gets better beefed to compete against other phone suppliers, or how this all impacts mobile traffic carriers like AT&T and Verizon. Oh yes, and how this all impacts Apple’s IPhone and IPad, in the wake of Steve Jobs’ departure as CEO.
What’s not covered so much is that Motorola Mobility is king of the hill among cable/satellite set-top terminal makers, and one of the two dominant terminal providers to cable/satellite service distributors. Cisco, by way of its Scientific-Atlanta deal some years ago, is the other. Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the top two cable service operators, are two big Motorola clients.
Point of disclosure: I subscribe to Time Warner Cable, but my service goes through an S-A converter.
The big point is that Google TV has a laser light on immediate access to millions of cable and satellite customers in one leap. That is, if A) this deal is approved and B) Google can be as nimble in making agreements with Comcast, Time Warner Cable and the rest of Motorola’s set-top users to bring Google TV to those millions as they are with search and Android capabilities. That leads to a second big point: Android, again in one shot, may give cable/satellite operators new applications to retain or grow their customer bases–one of those applications being Google’s white-hot Google + service.
Amid all this possibility, Google still has to live up to its promise to release version 2.0 of Google TV, the version allowing current and new Android apps to show up on TV sets, on time by summer’s end. Here we are at summer’s home stretch, and while a prototype 2.0 process was just made available for developers to peek at, Google isn’t giving a firm 2.0 release date yet.
There’s a lot to be cleared up about Google TV’s future over the next few months. However, as September begins, you can conclude the Motorola Mobility transaction represents an avenue for Google TV striking riches on the second try. That avenue starts with a Google TV 2.0 users conclude is worth using.
Wonder what the company behind my set-top is wondering right now.
Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!