Google TV: The Critics are Being...Critical

The Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg and The New York Times‘ David Pogue are often among the first tech writers to review major new products. In the case of Google TV, however, they took a bit more time. Both wrote about the platform for their columns this week (here's Walt's story and here's David's), a few weeks after the first reviews. (such as mine) appeared. Neither of them is impressed-they have overlapping-but-not-identical lists of usability gripes, and come to the conclusion, as I did, that it's just not ready for prime time.

At this point, I think it's fair to say that Google TV, as represented by the first products that incorporate it-Logitech's Revue and Sony's TV and Blu-Ray player-is a critical dud. (I got a advertising e-mail from Logitech that optimistically referred to happy critics writing positive reviews, but it linked only to Oliver Starr's review at TechCrunch, which is the most favorable one I've seen.)

I'm curious how well the Logitech and Sony products will sell this Christmas, especially since they compete with much cheaper options, such as the Roku players which start at $59.99. Also unknown: Is Google going to stick with Google TV for the long haul, or will it turn out to be a Wave-like fling? I hope that the company sticks with the idea and improves it-for one thing, I think the people who buy Google TV devices this year are getting an alpha product and deserve to get a more polished update. For another, I still think the idea has plenty of potential-a Google TV with fewer bugs and kludgy design decisions and a more harmonious relationship with Hollywood could be a winner.

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