Last Friday a report appeared, citing the usual “anonymous sources,” that asserted Logitech asked one of its suppliers to “temporarily suspend shipments of [its Google TV] Revue set-top boxes for the period from December 2010 to January 2011 waiting for Google to complete updates or to launch a new version of its software for Google TV.”
This is consistent with a similar article that appeared in the NY Times last weekend reporting an apparent request by Google to several TV OEM partners to delay launch of their versions of Google TV at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show “so that it can refine the software.”
Logitech has apparently denied that Google made any request to delay production, explaining that software updates can be made “over the air” and don’t require any retooling or retrofitting of the box itself. (Google has issued a denial itself.)
Whether or not Logitech has in fact paused production of the Revue Google is undoubtedly working (even as we speak) to improve the Google TV software and address some of the challenges and complexity issues cited by many reviewers of the product. Overall the Google TV software and the Revue in particular have received mixed notices along the lines of the following: “great concept, not so great execution.”
I’m struck that there’s something of a potential analogy to Google Buzz here. Buzz was an ambitious project that wasn’t entirely thought through before launch.
There seems to be a similar “prematurity” to the Google TV product and some of its hardware manifestations. Google characteristically releases imperfect products and then improves them over time. Android is probably the most successful example of this approach. But while “iterating” has been a virtue online and in some other situations it may not equally be so in all consumer contexts.
All or most of the perceived software “problems” with Google TV can be corrected — and one would assume they will be. However the muddy reception for Google TV thus far may have damaged its near-term prospects in an increasingly competitive “connected TV” marketplace.
Yet the apparently successful rebirth or reboot of Apple TV, after lackluster early versions, argues that Google may get several tries to “get it right.”
Postscript: Logitech provided statements to a couple of media outlets and blogs seeking to refute the perception that Google had asked the company to delay production of the Revue. Here’s the statement:
Suggestions that production of the Logitech Revue companion box might need to be halted to address software issues are unfounded. As those familiar with the product know, it is not necessary for Logitech to make changes to the companion box to accommodate future enhancements to Google TV. Every Logitech Revue will receive free over-the-air updates whenever Google and Logitech release software enhancements.
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