As promised, Sony has brought Google TV back to CES this year, following a long period of struggling as one of the platform’s initial partners. This time around Sony doesn’t seem as eager to put the content-juggling technology into their expensive televisions, instead focusing on a Blu-ray player (model NSZ-GP9) and a dedicated media streamer box (model NSZ-GS7). Both units are using the Android 3.1-based Google TV 2.0 that rolled out last year, which simplified the interface and added access to the Android Market. Initial impressions say that the devices are slim, with minimal footprints, most likely a benefit of Google TV’s switch to ARM architecture.
But the most interesting aspect of Sony’s second Google TV attempt are the much-improved, dual-sided remotes.
Though the pictures make them seem a tad bulky, Sony’s new remotes are definitely a cleaner presentation than last time around—one side includes a gesture-navigating touchpad, the other side features a conveniently backlit keyboard, and one edge houses volume/channel selectors and a mute button. Both remotes include three-axis motion sensing for use in games, and the Blu-ray player remote, like the LG unit we mentioned yesterday, has a microphone for voice input—we don’t quite understand why that feature would be in one device and not the other.
The media streamer will release in the spring, with the Blu-ray player following in early summer, though there’s currently no word on pricing. Until we get real hands-on time with Sony’s new Google TV products, we can’t know if this is the rebirth the platform needs, but so far it’s definitely a brighter outlook this time around.