Remember Google TV? At least one entity does: Google, who just let us in on its plans for 2012. The software is hitting TVs from Samsung, Vizio, and LG.
This is a big break for Google TV, which was previously confined to the Logitech Revue, an enormous dud, a Sony Blu-ray player, and one Sony set. Luckily, those of you who like what GTV has going for it but don't want to be be roped in by a pitiful hardware selection will have choices later this year.
LG's Smart TV with Google TV (rolls off the tongue, no?) pairs its QWERTY remote with Google's software. And it's 3D, of course.
Vizio will show Google TV-powered "products" (with an S) at CES, so expect at least one TV and maybe a Google TV box. What'll happen to their proprietary "smart TV" apps? Probably the same thing as LG's—they'll continue to exist, either as a low-end offering or a completely separate line, in case Google TV bombs.
Samsung and Sony will also reveal "devices" next week.
What we see here is a cautious dipping of the toe into Google TV. The Revue and Sony's Google TV bombed, but GTV's a hell of a lot better than it was when first introduced. It's unlikely that any company, whether Vizio or Samsung, will abandon its proprietary TV app platter in favor of Google's already, after spending so much time developing and promoting the smart TV vision of each. No matter how generally crummy those visions have been.
But if this next wave of Google TV hardware takes off, it'd be equally unlikely for each maker to stick with their own lackluster software instead of just signing on with Google.
At any rate, we'll see how the next attempt goes when we go eyes-on with all these "devices" in Vegas next week. I have a feeling they still won't be enough to fulfill Eric Schmidt's plans of galactic domination. [Google TV]
Update: LG's posted images of its GTV set (above), which will incorporate both an Android-y and LG's own interface. I have a feeling the former will be superior.