updated 10:55 pm EST, Mon November 21, 2011
Samsung hints Google TV at CES next year
Samsung's long-promised Google TV hardware might make an appearance early next year. TV division head Yoon Boo-keun told Reuters Monday night that the Korean company was in "last-stage" discussions to bring out its own Google TV hardware. It would "differ from those of competitors," he said, although how wasn't mentioned.
Yoon was ambiguous on timing, saying only that the Android-based hardware would show at an "event next year." Samsung often unveils virtually its entire TV lineup for a given year at CES in January, even if some or all of the sets won't ship for the next several months. A last-minute negotiation might rule it out as Samsung would need time to fully integrate Google TV with its TV sets or set-top boxes.
An LG Google TV launch might also come into play early next year. Both, however, are coming into a market where Google TV has so far been unable to sell, even with Sony's official endorsement. Logitech has called its launch a mistake and won't participate in the near future, even after a major revision of Google TV brought app support. Despite the niche market, the Apple TV media hub may still have the larger share, both through a cheaper starting price and much stronger paid support.
Regardless of plans for the OS, Yoon committed Samsung more definitively to show new TVs using OLED at CES. He wasn't clear as to whether these would be concepts, as Samsung has shown for years, or would go into production. He was optimistic that whatever TVs would ship would help boost the TV space by 10 percent as customers started replacing TV sets and others bought into Internet-aware sets.
Just two OLED TVs have had any significant presence in stores, one from LG and one from Sony. Neither sold well, in part as their launches years ago made them too expensive and too small.