Visio squares off against Sony in the Google TV arena

I have to admit that I've been thinking of Google I/O as more or less a smartphone/tablet conference but of course Google has its fingers in many more pies, one of which is Google TV, an initiative that hasn't met with spectacular success thus far.

It seems like Google and its partners aren't giving up on the idea, though. Yesterday Google gave it's Google TV page a bit of an overhaul, suggesting it expects to be driving traffic to the site during Google I/O.

Of more interest are two new Google TV products that are in the news, one from Sony and one from Visio.

Sony has the NSZ-GS7 Google TV (NSZ-GS7 is such a catchy name) that sells for $200 and is available for pre-order now. It's supposed to ship in July and review units are in the hands of tech bloggers. Engadget has their review up already and they seem to like the new remote and overall build quality. If you need a Blu-ray player too, the NGZ-GP9 adds one for another $100.

And then there's the just-announced Visio Co-Star. It's just $100 and it packs both Google TV and cloud gaming service OnLive into one package (and it'll support OnLive's Gamepad if you happen to have one). It still seems to include all the features you'd want from Google TV including a remote with a touchpad. The Co-Star will be available for pre-order in July and we haven't seen any reviews yet, but assuming Visio hasn't completely flubbed the job it sounds like this might be the Google TV unit to watch. Half the price of the Sony model? That sounds more like it. You can find out more about the Co-Star on Visio's website.

So it sounds like we'll be learning more about Google TV, the Nexus Tablet and Android Jelly Bean when the Google I/O 2012 opening keynote happens later today. I wonder if Google has any surprises left to spring on us.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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