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Samsung Eyeing Android For Web-Connected TVs

September 7, 2010

The world’s largest television manufacturer may be turning to Google’s Android operating system to stave off competition from TVs that offer access to online movies, shows, and video games, according to a Tuesday report from the Bloomberg financial news service.

Seoul, South Korea-based Samsung Electronics is said to be considering the move in order to fend off new products from Apple and Sony. Earlier this month, Apple released a $99 set-top box that allows users to download movies and television programs from the Internet. Likewise, Sony is currently developing–in partnership with Google–a TV that can stream video and music from the Web.

According to Bloomberg’s Jun Yang and Pavel Alpeyev, “Samsung’s lead position as a TV maker may come under threat as viewers seek models” which not only allow them to stream traditional forms of entertainment, but also give them the ability “to buy third-party video games and programs that do anything from forecasting the weather to measuring the string tension of a tennis racket.”

Yoon Book Keun, the chief of Samsung’s television division, told reporters during a government-sponsored forum that the company was considering the use of Android, but added that they were “reviewing” the product.

“We will have to see,” he said, according to the Bloomberg reporters, who claim that “a key question is whether South Korean movie, TV and music providers will cooperate with Google.”

“Yoon said competition among TV makers in the market for such TVs will probably peak in 2012. He spoke after a government-sponsored forum on how South Korean companies should prepare for the race to win a slice of the global next- generation TV market,” Yang and Alpeyev added.

Last week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled his company’s Apple TV product, which will offer high-definition programming for $0.99, would allow on-demand movie rentals for $4.99, and would also support Netflix. Apple has already secured programming from ABC and Fox.

Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, Samsung’s digital media division saw their second quarter profits fall nearly 70-percent from 2009, and the news agency claims that analysts expect the sale of TV sets with Internet connectivity to increase “about sixfold” by 2013.

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