Yesterday, Google unveiled Android TV and the world reacted with a collective shrug. Why is that? In part, it’s because we’re all waiting it out until the manufacturers all finish at the same place, then decide.
The “big” news of the Android TV was that it will be able to link up with all your Android devices – just like Apple TV and other Apple products. There are other features, but nothing I would count as revolutionary.
Television is in an interesting place. We did a market study a few years ago on the industry, specifically focused on manufacturers, and came to the conclusion that it was an industry in flux that too often is focused on price and features.
You have a whole host of factors influencing the market. Developers like Google and Apple are attempting to make your TV experience more robust, while forcing you to buy their other products to make it work.
The streaming video revolution has prompted providers such as cable companies and satellite providers to change their models, while audiences expect more than the static experience of just a few years ago.
Where does that leave us right now? Where does that leave Google as it unveils its product? To me, this is like consumers waiting to see who was going to win: Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. Or even when VHS beat out Beta, even though Beta was actually the superior product.
What interests me the most is, assuming the technology and approach will all be basically the same, who will be preferred? If you look back to the Blu-Ray victory, it wasn’t about product features and price (HD-DVD actually tended to be cheaper). It was about the brand of Blu-Ray that actually felt like a step forward.
In the Android TV situation, I’m fascinated that it wasn’t named Google TV, considering Google has Google Play that can go along with it. I think it would have been better off as Google TV because Android feels like hardware. Google feels like an imaginary world with infinite possibilities. (Like Google Glass. Can it work with Android TV? Will audiences make that connection?)
To me, this is a rare misstep on Google’s part when the opportunity was there for the taking as Apple users are getting impatient. Now, the tech giant has given Apple more lead time to capture that Blu-Ray-like preference. We’ll keep watching.