What does the Google/Motorola merger mean for living rooms?

Given Motorola’s notable presence in the cell phone world, the bulk of today’s coverage on the $12.5 billion deal has focused on what will happen with the Android operating system (quick answer: Not much- HTC, Samsung and other phones will still be supported). But the real interesting twist on this takeover could be its impact on Google TV. Google-tv

The service, which lets users access the Web on their TV, hasn’t had a particularly strong launch. To be blunt, it has stumbled more than a baby taking its first steps. (In the first quarter of this year, there were more returns of Logitech’s Google TV box than there were sales.)

But with Motorola, Google suddenly has an in to the cable industry – since that company makes cable boxes for Time Warner and several other cable companies. The formal rivals have instantly been turned into allies.

By integrating Google TV onto those set-top boxes, Google not only expands its footprint, it has a chance to one-up Apple’s Apple TV and actually beat that company at its own game. Also put immediately on the defensive is Roku, whose streaming boxes have sold more than 3 million units.

Today’s Motorola purchase adds a degree of credibility and scale that Google TV has been sorely lacking – and it could be the turnaround the company needs to make this once promising technology worth its customers’ time.

Don’t look for any immediate announcements on this, but all of a sudden, the set-top box announcements at January’s Consumer Electronics Show have become something that move higher on your radar.

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