I wrote six months ago about whispers I was hearing from the TV manufacturers that Google was going to start simplifying their TV platform efforts and shrink the space between Google TV and Android. In fact, some were suggesting that Google would drop the Google TV name altogether and make their TV platform simply Android TV.
This matched what I had heard from my sources in Google late last year and early this year, who said that Google’s then-Android chief Andy Rubin was unhappy with all the divergent efforts Google had in the TV market and thought it was time they simplify.
And so today, as Janko writes, Google is going to do just that. According to his sources, the company is going to sunset the Google TV brand and start using Android Tv.
This makes sense. It also is possibly a reaction by Google to the growing unease many smart TV manufacturers are having with using Google’s TV software, something which has been illustrated to a degree by recent acquisitions from both LG and Samsung. The LG acquisition of Web OS is partly due to the company’s desire to diversify away from Google (and also upgrade their aging Netcast platform, which was built on Linux). Samsung’s buy of Boxee, while probably has something to do with their desire to upgrade their own platform, was also part of a continued push to keep Google at arm’s length.
Now, admittedly both of these vendors have Google TV SKUs in their TV lineups, but Google TV offerings are a relatively small part of the overall mix. And while moving to Android TV from Google TV may not necessarily ease the TV OEMs discomfort with the software giant, Google may believe that by removing their name and pushing Android could help their cause as it will allow TV OEMs to remove Google’s name altogether from their TV branding.