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Samsung May Deploy Google TV After All

Samsung may look to build TV sets with the Google TV Internet and video platform built-in, despite concerns about the high cost of components necessary to run the software, according to a Bloomberg report. The decision to use the software could come down to which content providers Google (s goog) brings on board to develop apps for the Android-based OS.

While Google TV is getting a fair amount of buzz ahead of the introduction of products from Sony (s SNE) and Logitech (s LOGI) running the operating system, consumer electronics companies like Panasonic (s pc) have complained that the cost of components necessary to power the platform are too pricey. Based on the cost of materials alone — including an Intel (s INTC) Atom processor and 4 GB of flash memory — Google TV is estimated to add a $300 premium to the price of TVs and other devices that use the OS.

Added cost isn’t the only reason that Samsung may choose not to deploy Google TV; while Google’s TV OS seeks to corner the market for TV applications, Samsung already has a fairly successful TV app platform of its own. At a press event last month, Samsung said it already had 80 applications available through its connected devices, and expects to have more than 200 on its platform by the end of the year. Samsung said it has more than 6.5 million connected devices in households worldwide, and claims to own 60 percent market share for connected TVs and Blu-ray players.

Samsung is looking to entice app developers in the U.S. with its “Free the TV Challenge”: a contest through which it will give away more than $500,000 in prizes to developers for new and innovative TV apps. The “Free the TV Challenge” follows a developer contest held in South Korea earlier this year, and the CE maker plans to hold a similar contest in Europe in the fourth quarter. Altogether, Samsung expects to spend more than $70 million marketing its Samsung TV app platform worldwide.

While still a nascent market, TV apps are expected to be a huge business soon. According to a report by GigaOM Pro, apps distributed through set-top boxes and connected TVs will generate close to $1.9 billion by 2015, and Samsung wants to be at the forefront of that market.

Despite having its own successful TV apps platform, Samsung’s decision to deploy Google TV in some of its products may come down to which content is available through the Google TV platform. Bloomberg reports:

“We will have to see, but we are reviewing” whether to use Google’s Android operating system, Yoon Boo Keun, head of Samsung’s TV business, told reporters today on the sidelines of a forum in Seoul. A key question is whether South Korean movie, TV and music providers will cooperate with Google, he said.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: Got a Cable Subscription? There’ll Be an App for That (subscription required)

8 Responses to “Samsung May Deploy Google TV After All”

  1. This is typical Sammy. Eggs in all baskets, and then some.

    Android/Google TV is not a bad basket. And contrary to public (or Panasonic’s) perception, Sammy TVs are not always up to their necks in terms of CPU or resource usage. There is some headroom still there (at least in their 7, 8, 9, 9+) range. They could massage in the Android – at least mutually exclusive with Sammy’s own internet apps. Note that going to Android will mean Sammy need not focus on the portal and partnerships, while still offering a credible content choice.

    However, Sammy being interested in Android/Google Tv is no indication of a long-term relationship. Sammy is the proverbial butterfly in a garden – hopping from flower to flower.

  2. An open platform for the web will win the day… a bunch of widgets is just a bunch of widgets… you need even more then the atom chipset to really manage flash and other app’s on a big screen. This is where its going… and open wins.
    Geeks are building HTPC’s now, and the parts are there… Google will do it for you and invite the development community into your home. I heard the same “why this” nonsense when AOL users first saw broadband…

  3. Why would they use an Atom? Their TVs and phones already have excellent ARM processors. Android already runs on ARM. Samsung is an ARM licensee.

    All of their HDTVs already have a CPU, RAM, Ethernet, USB and flash in them. This is not going to add $300 to the TV price. I suspect you could run Google TV on Samsung 2010 model TVs right now if the code were available.

  4. Home Theater Fan

    The recent announcement that LG is planning to add Plex to their TV and Blu Ray player line is more interesting than the Google TV plans.

    To really access video on the Internet, you’d want something like Boxee or Plex.