Marvell's new chip fills Google TV void left by Intel

Marvell is bringing ARM architecture to the Google TV software platform

Marvell was set to announce a new ARM-based chip for televisions on Thursday that will run Android and Google TV software, filling a void left by Intel's decision in October to depart the TV market.

The ForeSight platform, which includes a dual-core ARM processor, will be used in TVs, set-top boxes and other devices running Google software, said Edward Silva, senior product manager at Marvell. Reference designs of TVs and set-top boxes with Marvell's chip running Android 4.0, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich, and the latest Google TV software will be shown in the chip maker's booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from January 10-13.

Marvell will bring ARM processors to Google TV, which currently is being used only on TVs and set-top boxes equipped with Intel's x86 processors. Sony TVs and Logitech's Revue set-top box are among the best-known Google TV products based on Intel's chips. However, in October, Intel said it would move away from the TV business and make TV chips only on a case-by-case basis. This opened up an opportunity for Marvell.

"We have been selected for the new wave of Google TV devices to be deployed this year," Marvell's Silva said.

The Marvell Armada 1500 chip at the core of the ForeSight platform is a dual-core processor with a graphics engine that can play back 1080p video, Silva said. Marvell worked with Google on software development and expects TVs with the chip to come out later this year, Silva said. He did not share the names of companies making devices based on the chip.

Google and Marvell are working together to produce combined software and chipset technologies that will increase the number of Google TV devices, said Mario Queiroz, vice president of Google TV product management, in a Marvell statement.

"Marvell-powered Google TV solutions will enable powerful products to be brought to market at attractive prices," Queiroz said.

Google TV to date has seen poor acceptance, leading Logitech to discontinue its Revue set-top box in November, just over a year after its introduction. However, Marvell's Silva said Google TV is in its early days and heading in the right direction, and that the software is a good platform for Marvell to showcase the chip's abilities.

At CES, Marvell will show applications such as games optimized for the prototype TV sets, and supporting devices such as remote controls with accelerometers that enable gaming and other activities.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, in a video posted on YouTube last month, Google TV product manager Larry Yang said Google was working on a new version of Google TV software and more details would be shared in the near future.

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