Home 92% of Google TV Apps Were Pre-Installed, Not Downloaded

92% of Google TV Apps Were Pre-Installed, Not Downloaded

Google TV is supposed to be Android’s entrance into your living room, the pioneering cusp of the “smart TV” revolution. It appears that it has been anything but. Since its release last year, only about 4,793,000 Google TV apps have been downloaded, according to Xyologic. While nearly five million downloads may seem like a success, six of those apps come pre-installed on Google TV devices, making up 92% of the ecosystem. Only 352,000 dedicated Android apps for Google TV have been downloaded.

While the idea of the smart TV is intriguing, consumers are still warming up to adoption. We expect that to change this year as more avenues for Internet-connected televisions become available and prices begin to fall. Google TV is just a small segment of the ecosystem with Apple TV, Roku, Boxee and Samsung all coming with solutions to connecting your living room to the Web.

As of now, actual smart televisions are not in high demand. So far there is only one actual Google TV set on the market, the Sony Internet TV that comes in 40-inch and 46-inch varieties, starting at $599.99 from Best Buy. There are also two set-top boxes: the Sony Blu-Ray Player (at $229.99) and Logitech Revue.

Google TV works on an app-centric approach, with native Android apps designed specifically for the large screen form factor. The Android apps, which include staples like Flixster, Google Music, IMDb, Plex and Twitter, are not well rated on the Android Market. Xyologic points out users find most Google TV Android apps underwhelming with only two apps with higher than a 4.0 (our of five) rating in the top 10 most downloaded apps.

The surprise winner for all Google TV apps is Napster. That may be the only list that the once-powerful music service tops these days. It comes pre-installed on Google TV devices and is likely a product of the fact that most devices are sold through Best Buy, which bought Napster several years ago.

For comparison, the Roku set-top box had 15 million channel downloads as of May 2011, ahead of the release of the Roku 2. Roku’s channels are not like Android apps and are not designed from a mobile platform perspective. Most Roku channel downloads are done manually (not pre-loaded) and there is a robust selection. Roku acts more as an intermediary, allowing Google to make partnerships with a variety of players from Hulu Plus, Amazon On Demand to Netflix, HBO Go and others.

While apps designed specifically for Google TV may not fare well, companies like Myriad are working to lower the barrier for all Android apps to appear on TV sets. Myriad Alien Vue brings any Android app (not just Google TV) to the living room and may be a more attractive option to service providers looking to gain traction in the smart TV market. As opposed to funneling content through the over-the-top market that Apple TV, Roku and Google TV represent, service providers can just create a dedicated Android app and connect to the TV through Myriad.

This may be another case of the open Android ecosystem coming back to bite Google. Instead of pushing dedicated Google TV apps, Myriad and others can cut Google TV out of the mix and go straight to the service providers with Android apps for Internet connected televisions.

Are you planning on purchasing a smart TV this year? Will it be a set top box like a Roku or an integrated system like something offered by Samsung? Let us know in the comments.

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