Intel, Google and Sony in ‘smart TV’ alliance

17 May 2010

Chip giant Intel, web giant Google and consumer electronics giant Sony are banding together to unleash a ‘smart TV’ platform that will mirror, if not exceed, the PC revolution of the last 30 years.

Apps are making their way to the internet-connected TV where 3D, HD and social media will exist alongside clever capabilities like facial recognition, internal game consoles and wireless connectivity.

While Intel has made no secret of the fact that it wants to boost the use of Atom processors in a variety of consumer electronics devices, including forthcoming tablet computer devices, its latest chip, code-named ‘Dragonpoint’, caters for better audio and video performance on devices like TVs and set-top boxes.

In recent years, Intel’s operations in Leixlip developed and produced the chip code-named ‘Canmore’, which will in effect be Intel’s Pentium for the smart TV age.

Google is expected to call on its Android developer community to create custom applications for Sony which is aiming to web enable its TVs and Blu-Ray players, resulting potentially in Chrome-based browsers on Sony and other manufacturers’ TVs.

Apps potential in global marketplace

The global apps business following on from the success of Apple with the iPhone and the onset of markets from Google’s Android to Nokia’s Ovi marketplace – not to mention the 200,000 apps now available for the one month-old iPad – has the potential to be a US$24bn global market.

Add smart TVs with Skype and Google Goggles apps and the world could become a very interesting place.

With TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes rapidly adding wired or wireless internet connectivity to their features, a host of companies are tailoring and integrating web-based content for living room entertainment, said Kurt Scherf, principal analyst at Park Associates in a blog.

“If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said no way Intel and Google could make an impression. But Intel looks to have gained some traction and the operating system space is so wide open that it’s a case of why not Google at this point.

“Consumer electronics manufacturers want a piece of this (advertising) pie and Google is the player in this very crowded space that can immediately offer them revenue share,” said Scherf.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years