Today chipmaker Marvell announced that their new Foresight Platform, powered by the Marvell Armada 1500 HD Media system-on-a-chip (SoC), has been designed into the next generation of Google TVs expected to debut at CES 2012. Google was widely expected to reveal the second generation of Google TV devices at last year’s CES, but they decided to pull the plug and reboot Google TV.
This is a significant change for Google TV devices, since the first wave of products from Logitech and Sony were powered by Intel’s Atom processor. The move to the ARM-based Marvell processor should help reduce the initial cost of the new TVs and set top boxes that will be announced.
Companies expected to announce new Google TV devices include LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio. Samsung recently released a teaser video for their new Smart TVs that you can see below.
We don’t know a whole lot about the Armada 1500 SoC, so it will be interesting to see how it performs. Ganesh TS of Anandtech does a pretty good job of breaking down the technical details of the Armada 1500, which includes a dual-core 1.2 GHz PJ4B CPU core (similar performance to ARM Cortex-A9) and a Vivante GC1000 GPU core. Vivante currently produces two sets of GPU cores: one targeted at mobile devices (like the Ainovo Novo7) and one for home entertainment devices.
Marvell says their Foresite Platform is designed to “deliver superior 3D video, impressively rich audio, striking 3D graphics and TV-friendly Web content.” The original Intel Atom processor did a pretty good job with most of these tasks, but I found that web browsing and 3D graphics performance were lacking.
Google’s Eric Schmidt recently said that the majority of new TVs will have Google TV embedded by the summer, which was a pretty bold prediction. With a new low-cost ARM platform and LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio on board, it looks like Google has a good chance to make that come true.
I’ve been the owner of the Logitech Revue since it launched a couple years ago, and even though it flopped I was happy with my purchase. The recent software update to Android 3.2 that added the Android Market greatly enhanced the user experience and the apps are slowing starting to trickle in. Google says there are already more than 150 apps optimized for Google TV and we should see that number expand as these new products hit the market.
We expect to see most of these new Google TV devices next week at CES, so check back for some hands-on reports.