Samsung Wants A Web TV Platform: Google Android or Samsung Bada?

Samsung, one of the premiere makers of LCD, LED and Plasma televisions, is reportedly pondering whether to build televisions that use the Google Android operating system. This is the Google dream, to get their Android operating system to become a spinal cord for web connected televisions around the world, and was part of their recent announcement of Google TV. The problem is that there isn’t a whole lot of detail on exactly how some elements of the new service will work. Some of the features seem to require typing, and unless Samsung is shipping LCD TVs with a wireless keyboard, it’ll probably end up awkward and unused. We take a look at the possibilities after the jump.

The connected home theatre is a dream for many technovideoaudiophiles around the world, and seamlessly switching from web to TV while sitting on your couch in front of the biggest screen in the house has obvious appeal for a mass audience as well. This is why this year, TV manufacturers have kind of ditched the “3D with glasses” thing and are all about web access, app stores and other connected features that enhance the viewing process.

For that reason, we recently oohed and aahed over Samsung’s demonstration of their own in house BADA platform running on some LCD TVs at Casual Connect. But that wasn’t Android, that was Samsung’s own platform. Why are they considering using an external OS while simultaneously developing their own? I’d bet Google is aggressively pursuing Samsung, and asking them to use the operating system in order to get a jump start on a market that will eventually all be using Google TV (if Google has its way). So Samsung is sitting there wondering whether their small Bada Platform team can create a platform robust enough to go against their competitors Operating Systems, or whether they should go with Android, developed by the super brains at Google, and perhaps blow the other competitors out of the water.

The problem is, Android is still unproven on a TV, so there is likely a lot of prototyping and demoing going on behind closed doors between the two companies to see if they can fit together. Being a long time product manager for several companies, including RIM, Electronic Arts, Epson and more, I can tell you that at the end of the day, it’s near impossible to get one hardware manufacturer to use another group’s operating system, so I’m skeptical of this deal going all the way through. We’ll see, though.

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