It really has been two years since Google announced its Google TV initiative back at its 2010 I/O conference, and despite a disastrous launch that cost hardware partners many millions of dollars, Google seems unfazed in its rollout of the second generation of Google TV devices. Google TV 2.0 is playing a big part of this year's I/O, with a dedicated conference track to get developers excited about the platform. According to Janko Roettgers at Gigaom, developers expect Google TV to stick with Android 3.2 for a few more months, so the push will be on new apps (like Plex and Canabalt) and hardware that reportedly makes the Google TV experience a bit more useful and bearable.
Both Sony and Vizio have new Google TV set-top boxes, both running ARM SoCs that Google showed off back at CES. Sony's $199 NSZ-GS7 is based on Marvell's Armada 1500 chip, a dual-core Coretex-A9 processor developed with Google TV in mind. Vizio's Co-Star is a little more interesting in that it's priced at $99 and comes with OnLive support baked in. Both devices also come with remotes that are densely packed with traditional set-top controls, a touchpad, and a QWERTY keyboard. And both look much improved from first generation Google TV remotes.
Even with support for searchable NetFlix, Amazon Instant Video, and Youtube, Google TV will have a tough time competing for space in living rooms already invested in Rokus, Apple TVs, and Xbox 360s. The last thing our entertainment centers need is another set-top box to plug into the AV receiver and another remote to clutter up the coffee table. We'll be following along with Google I/O to see if there are any surprises in store for Google TV, and will be testing these new devices when they become available.