The Google Apple Face-off (Part I): Taking the Web to TVs
It’s Apple versus Google in a growing battle for the living room with potential benefits and innovative content for consumers.
Steve Jobs unveiled the revamped Apple TV on September 1st. The move aims to cross the divide between the TV and the PC. Less than a week after Apple’s announcement, Google CEO Eric Schmidt demonstrated a new service designed to do more or less exactly the same thing — and set to hit U.S. living rooms and TV screens this fall. Google’s free service would allow full Internet browsing via the television. Schmidt also declared that Google would work with a variety of programmers and electronics manufacturers to bring this service to consumers. Google also hinted that it would collaborate with content providers but it is very unlikely to venture into actual content production.Manufacturers such as Logitech, Sony and Samsung have already announced that they are looking into or working with the company to develop hardware in time for Google TV.
The competing products from Google and Apple heats up the battle for television advertising, which market analysts that say could be $180 billion globally. Apple’s latest device, a compact box that hooks into TVs and will cost just $99, allows viewers to stream shows and movies that they have rented or downloaded from iTunes. It can access YouTube,Flickr and other sites as well. Google TV will allow viewers to search and watch programs from the Internet and their DVR recordings. Sony TVs and blu-ray players, as well as Logitech TVs, will come with Google TV installed, though a separate stand-alone device will also be available.
Google versus Apple apart, these emerging devices could transform the way users find and watch videos.
Which device will win? It’s anyone’s guess at this point, though the two devices seem to have slightly different slants. If Apple pursues a strategy similar to that behind the iTunes music store, it will partner with all major television providers and bring cheap uniformity — something consumers will love. Google appears to be opting for ubiquity, allowing open access to all Internet content. it’s the same division seen in smartphone platforms from the two companies — and the Android platform has proved wildly popular lately.