updated 09:50 am EST, Thu January 5, 2012
Google TV goes to ARM to lower prices
Google and Marvell together confirmed a plan to move Google TV to ARM on Thursday with a new platform launch. Marvell's Foresight platform, led by the Armada 1500 HD full system on a chip, will handle all the processing for 2D and 3D video, audio, and general tasks. Its dual-core design is fast enough to handle Flash and HD, and has power levels likened more closely to a cellphone than a set-top box.
Google wasn't hesitant to admit that the support for ARM was to avoid the high prices that plagued Intel-based Google TV hardware, which when it launched started at a minimum $300. Marvell's platform would help provide speed at "attractive prices," Google product management VP Mario Queiroz said.
A number of the TVs unveiled at CES next week will use Marvell's chip, the two said. Which companies weren't mentioned, although Vizio has yet to release any of the Google TV sets it promised last year, while LG and Samsung are rumored to be bringing out their own TVs.
The cost drops are acknowledgments that Google TV stumbled in its first year. While Sony has been mostly quiet on Google TV other than to admit slow sales early on, Logitech was burned badly enough by the experience that it had to take a financial hit from selling the Revue below cost and quitted Google TV entirely. Although the category is still small, many put the Apple TV at the front in market share, in part because its switch from Intel to ARM let it charge $99 from the very start while still making a profit and producing a smaller, quieter, and more power-efficient box.