IFA 2010 – BERLIN. Sony said it will launch its first Google TV before the end of the year as the exclusive launch partner for the project. On the IFA showfloor, the company was showing an early version of a TV set running on the Android operating system.
The first commercially available Google TV set will be a 46 inch Sony Internet HDTV, powered by 1.2 GHz Intel Atom CE4100, running on Android and using the Chrome browser supporting Flash 10.1. At the demo in Berlin, which was tightly controlled by Sony people, a few features were shown, including the usual YouTube access, games and pictures from the online Picasa service. There is also a ‘quick search’ box. The Sony TV on display was actually a 40 inch model. (See also our story on Eric Schmidt’s closing Keynote at IFA)
The set offers the option to run Google TV as an overlay over a TV programme you are watching. We wonder if this will be the case with the final version which will be available in the shops, as broadcasters world-wide are not very keen to have their channels masked by Internet content. Sony’s colleague Samsung had to modify its Samsung widgets in such a way, that they will only appear on the TV screen when switched away from ‘regular’ television. This way, people will not be able to use online social media on their TV set while watching a programme.
Although Sony is the “official launch partner” for Google TV, there was another working Android TV set on display in Berlin. A small Scandinavia company, called People of Lava from Sweden displayed a working set with apps running Facebook, YouTube, Google Maps, Mail and Twitter alongside a TV channel. Android is Open Source, so anyone can join the game. The company will bring a 42 inch set in their People of Lava Scandinavia series later on the market (see picture above).
Just to make sure: there is Google TV and there is Android TV. Google TV is the platform for searching and aggregating TV and web content, whereas Android TV is the platform that brings Apps to television sets.
Watch the “official” video demoing Google TV