It seems that every traditional industry is not only becoming digital, but increasingly mobile in some way. This can lead to some wrenching changes for incumbents of any kind. No company on the planet seems as joyfully committed to disrupting any industry it can shake a stick at. And now it appears to be more difficult – than first imagined at least on paper.
Perhaps two factors can help explain this situation:
1) the luxury of perpetual beta falls hard in the arena of consumer products, or 2) too many fingers. in too many pies.
The Consumer Electronics Show next month in Las Vegas was meant to be the great coming-out party for Google’s new software for televisions, which adds Web video and other computer smarts to TV sets. Although Google already has a deal with Sony for its Internet TVs, other television makers — Toshiba, LG Electronics and Sharp — were prepared to flaunt their versions of the systems.
But Google has asked the TV makers to delay their introductions, according to people familiar with the company’s plans, so that it can refine the software, which has received a lukewarm reception. The late request caught some of the manufacturers off guard. And it illustrates the struggles Google faces as it tries to expand into the tricky, unfamiliar realm of consumer electronics, and drum up broad interest in a Web-based TV product that consumers want.
Google has a long history of putting out new products and then revising them on the fly. But in the consumer electronics market, companies place big, well-timed bets — to attract holiday buyers, say, or back-to-school shoppers.
This year, for example, computer makers waited for Google’s new ChromeOS software so they could ship new types of Web-based laptops. But delays at Google led the manufacturers to miss this year’s holiday season.