Logitec Revue Google TV Unit Slashed To $99; Can Google TV Make It?
Remember when we covered rumors about RIM’s BlackBerry home media device? Here’s some more evidence that proves the home media device is a tough marketplace: The Logitec Revue was a flop. The Revue was one of the first Google TV units to hit the marketplace, and has the dubious pleasure of being the first one to have its price slashed from $300 to $250 to $99. So what’s Google’s strategy as OEM vendors take a bath on untested technology? Here’s a little perspective…
Over a year ago, Google announced Google TV, which was designed to be an Android-powered (eventual Android-app running), Internet video surfing companion to your existing cable box. The only two units that ever were released were Sony’s Blu-Ray Google TV combo, and the Logitec Revue. Yes, there are some TVs that have Google TV integrated into them, but Sony looks to be the only taker on that market, with other TV vendors promising support in future TV sets…one day.
The Revue launched with a $300 price tag. It was a lot of money for a box that didn’t do half of what the $199 Boxee Box could do. It was expensive for what cheap nettop home theater PCs could do, too. Essentially, it was too little for too much, and the ability to watch web content on your TV through Google TV (while search for existing TV content through your cable box) wasn’t worth the price tag. Logitech recently revealed in their Q1 2012 earnings that despite their “enthusiasm” for the platform, their user base was small. So small that they’ve decided to drop the price of the Revue to $99 to help adoption.
I’ve got news for Logitec: That won’t cut it. Why? Because the device doesn’t interest the mainstream, not even at $99. It’s too much work to hook up to your cable box, and with an uncertain developmental future, what kind of investment is $99 for a consumer? What’s more, while Revue languished at a $300 price tag, people were buying Boxee Boxes and the new Apple TV at $199 and $99 respectively. Boxee Box provides nearly all the same web content just as easy as Google TV, has an existing app library, plus it natively supports locally attached media for playback. The new Apple TV has a super-friendly Netflix interface and plays nice with existing iTunes libraries.
Although a Google TV update will eventually bring Android applications and the app marketplace to the Revue, we all know where developers are headed right now: the tablet space. Even though Logitec says a new price and the eventual Google update can create a “compelling value proposition,” I really believe it’s too little too late. Many vendors are slated to release Google TV products this summer, but the market has yet to see any. If vendors withdraw from supporting the product, and people don’t support it with their cash, that could spell the end.
The silver lining? The sentiment over Google TV at Engadget is a mix of intrigue, and cautiously optimistic excitement. And the Revue at $99 has many readers more eager to try out Google’s experiment. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…