First time outside the US for Google TV
Google is to make its first foray into the UK television market this July, pairing up with Sony to launch their long-awaited Google TV.
Priced at £200-300, the television will use the familiar Android software that has enjoyed success in the smartphone market. Until now, their service has only been available in the US, and this move could spark the beginning of a three-way battle for the smart TV market between Google, Apple and Samsung.
Google-owned YouTube will play a key role in the success of their television, as viewers will be able to access an extensive collection of films, music videos and live concerts through the site. Further apps such as Twitter and BBC iPlayer will also be available, with users able to switch quickly between websites and regular television programmes.
In addition, Google Chrome will feature in the sets, while the more expensive version enjoys built in Blu-ray. Google's head of global TV distribution Suveer Kothari said: "Google TV attempts to address the problem that there's not really a great experience to access the internet on your TV screen".
Second bite at the Apple
However, many will be aware that Google's first attempt at launching a television in October 2010 was profoundly unsuccessful. On that occasion, they had hoped that their sets would become the must-have Christmas item for that year. Unfortunately for them, the Logitech boxes became the must-return item of the following January, losing millions for all involved.
More sets were sent back than sold, after many television companies blocked their content from the US-only network. Crucially, would-be buyers also felt that the product was too expensive.
This is an interesting observation, given that Google's latest effort will cost twice as much as rival Apple's internet television, which comes in at under £100. Despite this, Google has already shown it can compete with Apple in the smartphone market, and this launch should breed healthy competition in the coming years.
Following its UK launch on 16 July, Google TV will be rolled out in Canada, Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil and Mexico.
Tom Glass, creative director at theEword, said: "Google will hope that this new internet TV does a lot better than their first attempt. The fact that it costs twice as much as Apple's device is a concern, and it means Google TV will have to be pretty impressive to persuade users to buy it."