May 21, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
Google TV is not viewed as a threat to companies that integrate the web and televisions. Though yesterday’s announcement prompted some writers to suggest that Google TV might “kill” Boxee and other services that merge mobile devices, online content, and television, the “threatened” companies are actually intrigued by how Google TV can aid their business.
I managed to get a quick-chat with Kevin Kitagawa, director of strategic marketing at MIPS Technologies, after the Google I/O keynote. Though MIPS has been working to incorporate Android into set-top boxes and televisions, two fields Google TV will dive into, Kitagawa actually seemed excited about the new opportunities that Google TV will provide his company. Below is a transcript of our Q&A session.
What did MIPS think of today’s Google TV announcement?
We’re very excited in terms of Google TV and Froyo. It’s right in line with what we feel connected TV should be. The full web experience is exactly what we’ve been driving towards since last year. Everything that we’re doing going forward lines up with Google TV.
So you aren’t nervous at all that someone could opt for Google TV instead of MIPS framework?
What we have done is optimize Android [for television]. The things that Google talked about today are [for] hooking into the back-end. Those are things very complementary to what we’ve done…Google TV is an open source platform, and that’s going to move over quite well to the MIPS architecture.
Have you had a chance to see Google TV up close?
I saw the demo’s today, and what they’ve done is integrate everything from cloud API’s. One thing that I thought was really cool was the ability to see text feeds, push them over to Google Translate, and then have them appear on-screen as subtitles. Also, the ability to use search intents – to actually talk into your Google phone for search – and perform with Google services.
What’s the next step to incorporate Google TV into MIPS?
Android was just a handful of phones just over year ago, now there are more than 60 devices available today. We think there will be an explosion in TV the same way. You’re going to see different service providers, boxes, types of devices, digital media adapters, and TV as well.
I remember at CES, you showed me your line-up of products using DLNA. Is that similar to what Google unveiled today?
DLNA is more for what’s done locally between a PC and PS3 or set-top box for example. Google is actually doing a lot more in the cloud. With Froyo and other features announced today, this is all new. We’re real excited about them opening up those API’s [to Google services].
DLNA allows you to share content between devices. What Google is doing is allowing you to push content; the mechanism is a little different. In the YouTube demo they showed on stage, they’re able to say “Hey, I can’t watch this now” and push it to the cloud so you can watch it on the television.
How soon do you think products with MIPS architecture will come to market?
Over the next year, you’ll see a lot of different products coming out with MIPs architecture. We know that the initial [Google TV] device is done on the Intel platform and DISH network, but you can see this exploding beyond that when you get to the mainstream TV’s and set-top boxes.
When you work with a big company like Google, there’s often a fear that they may decide to do something that competes directly with your efforts. You don’t seem to feel threatened by today’s announcement at all. Why is that?
A lot of it is Google’s openness to create an ecosystem around Android and now Google TV. It’s an openness that’s really about the Internet. It’s about the vision that everyone at Google has to bring the Internet to the masses and take advantage of the connectivity available now. By the way, everything that’s being done today couldn’t have be done unless the infrastructure was there; it’s all coming together now.
If you look at history, [Google CEO] Eric Schmidt comes from Sun Microsystems. Sun had the exact same vision but Google is executing that. It was basically the same concept of networking connectivity, and Google has the ability to bring together all of these services and devices.