Google is working on a new hardware platform called Nexus TV

7 Dec 2013

Internet giant Google is continuing to test Apple’s boundaries. Having already conquered a large territory of mobile with Android (80pc of the world’s smartphones), introducing a new dimension to computing with its ChromeBook, Google is now believed to be planning its own Nexus TV device.

Yep, that’s right – Google is potentially entering the TV hardware business and the likelihood is that it will introduce its Nexus TV before Apple gives the world a sniff of what it is planning in terms of a fabled television set.

Why anyone hadn’t thought that Google might have such a plan in mind is bizarre. But according to The Information, Google is planning a TV that will run on its Android operating system.

It is understood that at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, Android maverick Andy Rubin demoed a TV behind closed doors that included a Kinect-like motion sensor and that could be controlled by an Android smartphone.

The forthcoming TV will be branded ‘Nexus TV’ and to avoid the heartache that has so far stumped Intel and Apple, the device will be internet-oriented rather than supporting traditional live broadcast. Intel’s plans to enter the TV set top box business were derailed when broadcasters refused to play ball. And for Apple failure to pull off the same coup with TV as it did with the iPod and the music industry is so far a sizeable blot on its erstwhile pristine copy book.

57 channels (and nothin’ on)

Google has already expressed its interest in TV with the Nexus Q device – a round-shaped streaming and communications set top box.

If Google does indeed enter the fray it will be a very crowded market in terms of existing services from providers like UPC with its Horizon box, Apple which has an Apple TV streaming device it calls “a hobby and Amazon which is believed to be planning to launch a set top box device next year.

But let’s not forget the established order of TV manufacturers like Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic. These players already have smartphone and tablet devices that run on Android.

Perhaps Google is planning to replicate its Android mobile device strategy in the TV space. Choose a hardware partner to manufacture a signature device (we have the Nexus 5, the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10 – why not a Nexus 50?) while also partnering with OEMs who can manufacture their own TVs that run on the new OS.

Leaving Apple aside, it might also be interesting to ponder the fate of players like Netflix and Hullu if Google does decide to enter the fray.

Entering an already crowded consumer electronics market like TV could be a strategy that will be fraught with difficulty for Google. But as the song goes: the sun always shines on TV.

Connected TV image via Shutterstock

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