updated 11:25 pm EST, Wed December 7, 2011
Schmidt hints Google TV may be pushed by volume
Google chairman Eric Schmidt made an aggressive prediction at the Le Web conference in Paris (video below) that Google TV would dictate the TV landscape by summer 2012. He believed that the "majority of televisions you see in stores" should have the Android-based OS build inside over the course of the next several months. No indication was given of which companies were involved and how many of their models would make the leap.
The claim is an ambitious one and may not be supported by practical reality. Only Samsung and Vizio have committed to Google TV hardware for 2012 besides a presumed Sony update. LG is rumored as well, but Google would need to get Panasonic, Sharp, and other majors not only to sign on but to replace their in-house TV platforms with Google TV, which could require price hikes for faster hardware and more advanced remotes. Any rapid expansion is most likely at CES, where electronics designers often feel compelled to reveal new TVs and set-top devices even if they won't ship for several months.
It still faces an uphill battle. Sony said early on that sales of its Google TV hardware was slow. Logitech saw demand so low that it had to cut the price to where it possibly sold at a loss, and the company has since quit Google TV altogether, calling it a "mistake" to get in so soon.
If Schmidt is accurate, it could create a difficult market for a rumored Apple TV set. Unlike Android's rise in smartphones, though, it may be an involuntary shift where customers are forced to get TVs using Google TV simply to get a TV they needed regardless, whether or not they actively use the platform.