Sunday, June 06, 2010

ARM to support Google TV, but will Intel let them?

According to Engadget, the president of ARM, Tudor Brown, said that ARM support for Google TV is "in the works, and now that they support Flash and Google Chrome, they plan to "optimize" for Google TV on Android. If it happens, it'll be a big boost for the Google TV platform, which to date only supports Intel's Atom platform. Atom is expensive and power-hungry relative to ARM's processors, and the availability of ARM processors will make Google TV much more practical and cost-effective to implement.

There's a question, however, as to whether Intel has veto power over other processor vendors joining the Google TV initiative. The way that the Google TV project has been run makes it look like Intel is actually calling the shots rather than Google. Consider that Google TV is being released on a down-rev version of Android without any support for WebM. If Google was running the show, you'd think that it would want to showcase WebM and use the most advanced version of Android, but that's not what happening.

ARM may be waiting until Google open sources the Google TV platform, which Google said would happen next summer. By that time, however, Intel could change some portion of the platform to make it work better on Intel's architecture, or not work at all on any architecture other than Intel's. So, just as Adobe kept saying that support for Flash on the iPhone was "coming real soon" until it was obvious that it wasn't, I'll believe that ARM is participating in Google TV when I see representatives from ARM, Intel and Google sitting side-by-side at a Google TV press conference.
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