Samsung: Android TV

Boo Keun Yoon, head of Samsung’s TV business, spoke with reporters in Korea on September 7th about the possibility of using Google’s Android OS as part of the company’s Internet-connected TV strategy (Source: Bloomberg). Yoon’s concern is whether or not South Korean movie, TV and music providers will work with Google to make the venture successful. Google already has Google TV so the simple road to take would be to integrate Google TV into its TVs. And Samsung needs to make a decision fast. According to Yoon, Internet-connected TVs will grow to 87.6 million units by 2013, about six times the number today. Google TV-enabled Internet-connected TVs from Sony are expected to be available during the Christmas season this year.

Android has been built as a mobile OS. Samsung has seen success incorporating Android into its smartphones with its Galaxy S line being a great example. The Galaxy Tab should also do very well, based on Apple’s example. Apple’s iOS started off on the iPhone and was incorporated into the iPad, a tablet, and it has done extremely well. And Samsung is following in Apple’s footsteps. By thinking of incorporating Android into a TV Samsung is venturing off on its own.

Or maybe not. Google is developing Android as an OS that will work with Google TV. Sony and Intel are working together with Google to make this happen.

Sony, Intel, Google and now maybe Samsung too wants to build Internet-connected TVs where you can download apps taking advantage of the strong momentum with Android. I think they are missing something. Smartphone users want to download apps because they are mobile and want to do a variety of things, things like search for nearby Korean restaurants with four-star or higher ratings from Yelp, or update his Facebook profile with a photo he just took of something interesting, etc. With a TV I think we can all agree that what we’re primarily looking for is video content to watch. I don’t think we need thousands of apps just to do that. And as mentioned above Google TV seems to be one perfect app that can be integrated into the TV. I guess I wouldn’t mind a Flickr app…

Personally, I like my TVs real dumb. All I want my TV to be doing is doing its best to make sure the stuff I’m watching looks great. That’s it. Leave everything else to something else. Maybe that’s why I’m leaning toward checking out the new $99 Apple TV. It sure beats having to spend $1500 on a new TV just to have access to the weather forecast in Seoul or stock prices for Samsung.