ARMdevices received word from a tipster who claims to be a Google employee that Google TV running on ARM powered devices is coming soon. ARM, as I wrote yesterday, is a company who designs the majority of chipsets in smartphones today. The first version of Google TV was designed to run on Intel's x86 processors, but this rumor, if it proves to be true, will likely greatly increase the affordability of the Google TV service, and possibly push it onto mobile devices.
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According to the article on ARMdevice, ARM's president had earlier mentioned that "If Google TV is to be mainstream, it must be built on a lower power system, …on lower cost technology”. This view is shared by many consumers (that I have met, and myself included), and certainly echoed in the seemingly limited adoption of Google TV devices.
Once Google TV is supported on ARM processors, it won't take long before someone decides to install it on a smartphone. At CES, Motorola and LG showed off their Atrix 4G and Optimus 2X, respectively, which both feature dual-core Tegra 2 processors which have 1080p output ability. In addition, we saw the Atrix manage to run a laptop, desktop, and television, so it stands to reason that the power needed to support Google TV is already available.
AndroidandMe comments that there were plans by several manufacturers to show off their Google TV devices, but Google asked them to hold the announcements until they refine the software more. One of the things they may be presently working on is the rumored support to run Google TV on mobile devices.
However, one of the unavoidable questions that seems to be connected with Android is whether Google will have a say on the hardware requirements for Google TV on ARM chipsets, and whether it will be affected by fragmentation. Luckily, ARMdevices does address this topic solidly:
The specifics of how Google TV on ARM allows for differentiation (also called fragmentation), if there is support for versions without the whole HDMI-passthrough/IR-blaster overlay features, if Google TV on ARM has 1080p@60fps requirements or if 720p@30fps can be enough, if there will be support for cheaper ARM11 platforms such as Korean Telechips based Android-ready boxes, all of that is yet to be confirmed. But a bloggers logic says that eventually all ARM platforms and setups should be compatible. But as with delay in providing official Google Marketplace on non-standard Android Tablets (in a world of Android makers wanting to compete with iPod Touch and iPad), Google has authority to also decide to block or delay official Marketplace or other official features of Google TV on non-standard and cheaper Set-top-box devices.
Image from AndroidandMe