We had hoped that CES last month would bring better news for Google TV, but things only seem to be getting worse since Logitech abandoned the platform. According to Google’s first party Google TV apps in the Android Market, no single app – including seemingly essential ones like Youtube, Photos for Google TV and the ubiquitous program guide TV & Movies, has been installed more than a million times. That would seem to imply that less than a million total Google TV units have been sold and activated worldwide, despite being available for almost 18 months.

While adoption has been increasing since Google updated the software on Sony TVs and Logitech Revue devices, it apparently hasn’t been rising nearly fast enough. App research firm Xylogic agrees, stating that the most popular app for Google TV is music service Napster, with just over 900,000 users. Google itself has been mum on the subject; the last official word we heard from the big G was that Samsung, LG and and Vizio would come out with Google TV hardware this year, but the only company to actually show a consumer device at CES was Sony.

There’s no two ways about it: Google TV is struggling as a platform. Even though Google has enough resources and time to fund the Google TV project for years, it’s got no real reason to if it doesn’t start performing better, and quickly. Hopefully we’ll see more from Google’s hardware partners at Google IO this summer, with some new software features to compete with the hoards of Smart TVs headed into living rooms at the moment.

[via GigaOm]


  1. Recently, I was (and still sort of am) in the market for a streaming device. I was caught between Boxee and Google TV. The problem for me, and I imagine many early-adopter consumers, is there is no one platform that has ubiquitous platform support. Options are a big deal when you’re looking at living room devices. The only streaming platform supported by every device is Netflix, which is great for Netflix but is a terrible indicator of the state of streaming.

    I like to rent Amazon movies to stream, but even Google TV only supports it via the built-in browser. That’s just OK for now. Roku’s Amazon app is much better, but of course Roku is notoriously lacking a YouTube app and a few others like Vudu. Boxee has a good browser that will support Amazon Video, too, and supports Vudu well and YouTube with a so-so app. Boxee also has your local media covered really well with the best media recognition algorithm that I’ve witnessed to date.
    Google TV has the brightest app potential, however, because at least theoretically any Android app can be made a GTV app trivially. But so far, the GTV apps remain mostly unimpressive. My hope and guess is that Boxee will come over to Android and GTV will be a viable platform for me.

    For the rest of the consumers, price is still way too high. Consider that Apple TV is selling for $100 retail while most of the other players (except Roku) are trying to make out like a streaming bandit for $200-$300 device prices. That’s a huge leap. And that’s why Roku has a great install base despite having a much less capable product. It’s taken a few years to see the Revue and Boxee devices reach a price point where normal people might be compelled to to see it as a good value (BTW, I hate this race to the bottom as much as anybody, but I think if Apple is pricing their streaming product at $99, you really have to fight for $200).

    I’m also not going to be surprised if some of the living room players are eliminated or consolidated in the next year. I don’t know if Boxee can make it on devices much longer, so maybe a Plex-like presence is in their future. If so, they need to get on board the ubiquity train if they expect people to pay. I am guessing Roku will be fine because they are so inexpensive that many folks will not mind dropping $50 on a streamer for a spare room or on a whim. Xbox could have been a much bigger player in this space if Microsoft didn’t squander their heyday (but then, isn’t that what Microsoft always does?) Of course, Nintendo is apparently clueless about its home presence. Netflix makes more now from the Wii as a stagnating platform than Nintendo does, I’m sure. 

    So, I think we’re all expecting an Apple living room shake up this year from a reborn TV product. If that happens, all of a sudden consumer demands will be crystalized and Google and Boxee will have something to parallel and/or contrast from a feature and interface standpoint. As it is, nobody really knows how people want to interact with their boxes. Do they want a Wii-mote controller? Do they want QWERTY remotes? Do they want just a D-pad? Do they want voice controls? Do they want to use their smartphones? Do they want Kinect? Apple will probably tell consumers what they want and the rest of the devices will adapt (and subsequently have their pants sued off). Most people seem to believe that Siri will be involved in that. Talking to me TV is a tough sell for me but Apple works miracles with marketing. And we’ll all be paying attention to the Apple sell on this one, because I think all the other companies are too exhausted to innovate.

  2. I have Google TV but have not actually downloaded any of the apps. They’re just cheap. The only thing I find myself using is Netflix. You can rent movies on Google but it hasn’t made it to Google TV yet and that really sucks. I’ve tried watching Crakle but there is no app for it so I have to use the browser and it’s a bit trouble some. I wish I could get a Vudu, Amazon or Blockbuster movie rental app.

  3. I have a Revue and use it all the time … I love it.. I plan on buying the Vizio tv as well….. Why don’t we wait a lil while, say after there are more than 3 products with GoogleTV out, to write it off?

  4. If what you say is true, how can there be 900,000 people using Napster alone? I don’t know anybody that uses Napster and I install programs for people. Just saying that first of all Logitech’s are selling mainly in the USA, so 1Million is still good and better than Apple TV over the last year! 

    So I think your way off. Because there’s also a ton of generic Google TV boxes out from China on ebay alone and they are all coming with various older versions. Mostly 3.1 Android installed though for expensive units. You can no longer buy a Logitech Revue from Logitech and the prices are going through the roof! 

    Don’t believe me…. check out ebay or Google it!

    btw I have a friend that when he heard about people running Android 3.1, suddenly had to have one to use with his Motorola Razr2. He paid around $150 for a new one online a week ago!

  5. Eric’s statement that he expects Google TV to be in half of the TVs available this year should be a big blinking light of a hint that New Stuff is coming.

    The current users? I doubt they’ll get upgraded, but we’ll see. It’s just that Google is playing to get the mainstream, not a million geeks.

  6. Tony is right. There are so many “generic” Google TV out of China, and they are sold in every country: Europe, Australia, China and really everywhere. Check for example http://www.artwaytech.com as a manufacturer who sell Android TV box worldwide. And they even sell now Android 4.0 ICS, while Google TV is still based on Android 3.0; These generic boxes can download all the market application, and for Amazon (just as example) there is no need to use the Browser, but there is a native application. Out of USA the generic Android TV boxes are the killers today!

  7. You can’t count adoption based on the downloads of one app.  I have a Revue and love it but I only use it for 1 thing and I use it for that one thing 99.5% of the time.  That 1 app is Netflix.  I don’t use cable TV and I rarely use the web.  It’s nice to occasionally look things up, but Netflix is all I really need.  I don’t care that it’s google’s OS, although I appreciate learning 1 OS rather than having a Roku for this and a Droid for that etc.


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