August 01, 2011, 7:46 AM — Last week we got the rather sobering news that Logitech had slashed the price of its Google TV product, the Logitech Revue, from $250 to $100, as well as the news that in the fiscal first quarter there had actually been more returns of the Revue than sales. As a result of poor earnings, at least in part due to the apparent failure of the Revue, Logitech CEO Gerald Quindlen stepped down from his role. All in all, it sounded like quite a mess.
But is there hope for Google TV? $100 is a reasonable price for the Revue, in line with both Apple TV and the top end Roku Streaming Player. As bad as that 'more returns than sales' fact sounds, Logitech clarified over the weekend that it was referring to sales to distributors and retailers. Consumer returns "have averaged at levels comparable to other Logitech products" [source: Engadget] That would imply that the people who do buy the Revue are pleased with it.
And now we're hearing that Honeycomb is finally coming to the Revue (and other Google TV platforms). Android & Me reports that some Google TV owners are already seeing their Revues or other GTV products showing up under "My Devices" in the Android Market. Once Honeycomb rolls out tablet-sized, HD resolution apps should follow almost immediately. Keep in mind Honeycomb already supports USB peripherals such as keyboards and gamepads. Honeycomb will turn Google TV into a casual gaming platform, in addition to everything else it does.
This positions Google TV ahead of Apple TV and on par with Roku in the race for television-based apps. Whether that's enough to matter isn't yet clear, but it seems like it could be a selling point if marketed properly. The Android Market should bring both Google Music and movie rentals to Google TV, as well.
To those of us who follow gadgets and tech passionately Google TV (and the Revue in particular) already feels like a flop, but I think the launch was so low-key that most consumers aren't even aware that the platform exists. I think Logitech has the opportunity to re-launch the Revue at $100 — with Honeycomb and its apps — and possibly turn things around. Consumers looking to stream content are probably more likely to resonate with the Logitech brand than with the Roku brand. Competing with Apple TV will be more of a challenge, of course, but again apps could be the differentiator.
The $100 price is here now. Best Buy lists the Revue at $99 and although the Logitech site lists it for $300, once you put it in the cart it rings up at $99 there, too. But now isn't the time for Logitech to push the product; they need to wait for the Honeycomb apps to arrive (and get licensing issues sorted out for movie rentals), then roll out a major marketing campaign.
Has the new $100 price tempted you to give the Revue a try?