Schmidt says Google TV on track for fall release

Going up against new version of Apple TV, Google TV is looking at an autumn unveiling

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Tuesday that the company will launch its TV service in the U.S. this fall.

Schmidt made the comments while answering questions from reporters after his morning keynote speech at the IFA consumer electronics trade fair in Berlin. He noted that Google is planning to shortly bring the Web to U.S. televisions, according to a report from Reuters .

Schmidt's remarks confirmed that Google remains on track. At the Google I/O Developer conference in May, the company said it was planning to release Google TV by the fall.The company has been working with Intel , Sony, and Logitech to develop Google TV as an open platform.

Google TV is designed to give viewers the same search capabilities and video options they have online. For example, a sports fan could find out when a favorite team is playing next by running a Google search on his TV.

"Google TV is an ambitious effort to open up the set-top box, just as Google opened up the cell phone with Android ," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "What Google really is doing is bringing apps mania to the living room by providing a platform that developers can use as a foundation for building new, must-have, functionality."

Sony, which is making the smart TVs, has not revealed pricing or a specific release date, though the new TV sets are also expected in the fall.

While Sony is building the TVs, Google is throwing in its Android operating system and Chrome Web browser . Project partner Intel is supplying the processors, and Logitech will supply wireless keyboards and remote controls.

Schmidt's update on Google TV comes about a week after Apple unveiled a new version of Apple TV with a significant price drop, from $229 for the original mode to $99. It's also one-fourth the size of the original TV decive. Apple TV, which will hit store shelves in a month but can be pre-ordered now, is designed to stream rented movies and TV programs to high-definition TVs.

Olds said he's not sure how the competition between Google TV and Apple TV will pan out since Google's offering appears to be more expansive.

"Apple is approaching the market in a typically Apple-like way. The device is proprietary and will rely on the huge content they've amassed through iTunes," he added. "I'm not sure if there will be as much independent apps development around Apple's device. It looks more like a conventional set-to box rather than a platform like Google TV."

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Sharon Gaudin

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