There were rumors ahead of Google I/O
that there would be Google TV announcements, then there were rumors that there wouldn't be Google TV announcements
. Then Google dropped the Honeycomb bomb
and introduced us all to the reality of Android Market on the Google TV platform.
Sometime this summer Google will release Honeycomb 3.1 to Google TV, including all current devices and will bring widgets, notifications, but most importantly, apps. All to your TV and all in glorious HD goodness. Of course, you'll also have access to your Music Beta by Google collection as well as movie rentals from Android Market.
In preparation for the Android Market release Google also announced the Fishtank program
. The program is designed to put some early release Google TV devices into the hands of app developers to allow them to begin developing and testing their apps for Google TV.
I'm personally most interested in the prospect of apps on the Google TV device. Content owners were very quick to block the Google TV when released, but being able to develop native applications to maintain total control over their product may well bring Hulu and the like back.
Widgets and notifications aren't going to sway me when it comes time to buy the new Google TV. I won't be using Google TV to tune my DirecTV DVR so my interaction with the homescreen will make widgets meaningless. And notifications? The last thing that I want to have happen during an episode of Dexter or Californication is to have a Gmail notification pop up on screen.
No, the big deal here are the apps. Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Showtime, ESPN, MLB TV, NFL Network and more. When the content owners can serve the content in the manner that they choose, controlling the way that the content is consumed, and more importantly, control the ads that are displayed, then and only then will they come.
When the apps come, the content owners will come as well. If the unit sales are there. And make no mistake about it, this is Google TV's last big chance. There's no way that the likes of Sony, Samsung, Logitech and Vizio will hang around for Google TV 3.0 if this version flops like the first one did.