To further develop the successful partnership of Samsung and Android in the smartphone market, Google is once again going back to well to start a new Smart TV partnership with Samsung. Samsung Smart TV’s will offer Google Play, YouTube and Google’s flagship browser Chrome. This partnership is expected to gain wide market acceptance from users as they enjoy the same Android experience across devices.
The partnership seems to be a winning strategy for both companies, as Google focuses on it Android platform while Samsung handles the hardware side. This strategy will help Google gain vast market share, Samsung is the leader in the flat-panel TV industry, with a 20% share of all flat-panels sold in Q2 2012*. The strategy is identical to its smartphone strategy partnering with OEM to distribute its Android OS.
However, partnering with a market leader is not always the key to success. Google TV was originally launched in 2010, but was not the stunning success it was billed as, due to usability issues and lack of apps. Its not sure whether these usability issues, like having to fumble with a keyboard and mouse to use your TV have been adequately addressed. As smartphones and second screen apps like ZeeBox and GetGlue may offer a better experience than Google TV, I’m not sure Google TV will get it right this.
One of the main issues of using a keyboard to watch TV is that people really like to ‘veg-out’ while watching TV, and surfing the Internet is a much engaging activity than watching TV. What second screen apps offer is a quick, efficient blast on to the Internet from your tablet or smartphone to get additional content on shows or to take part in a social viewing ‘hangout’ with friends. Search was also another area where usability was an issue. Searches where often unpredictable returning results for TV, Web or apps with no clear way to pick or narrow the appropriate search query. And in other instances when watching TV and browser in picture-in-picture mode the TV picture would often hidden buttons with no way to move or re-size TV picture.
Here’s a look at the new Samsung Google equipped Smart TV from The Verge.
All told Google stills has a challenge to offer an optimum user experience for ‘Smart TV’s’ users. Now the social aspect of watching TV is an area Google could leverage with its Google+ and Google Hangouts apps, but these are currently unavailable on Google TV. Is Google TV refined enough this time to gain relevant market share? Check for an answer in 2013 when enough users have their chance to judge.
Written by Marc Niola – The UX Acrobat
Follow Marc on Twitter: @MarcNiola