Google is finally taking its smart/connected TV system outside of the U.S., with Sony as the preferred launch partner. Sony Europe revealed the news this morning, explaining that the NSZ-GS7 “Internet Player with Google TV,” which is a set-top box with a smart keyboard-toting remote control, will hit the U.K. in July for £200 ($311). Shortly after this the system will also launch in Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, then Brazil and Mexico (with Sony Germany giving a September date for that nation). Sony’s effort at bringing Internet TV to the masses is one of the most high profile, coming with Google’s global reputation in tow, and it’s being played out against a continuous backdrop of rumors that Google’s rival Apple is planning on reinventing the whole market and as Amazon slowly expands its own Net content offering, with deals like a new one between Lovefilm and Fox in the U.K.
The timing of the Google TV push is also interesting–just recently Google closed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and last week Eric Schmidt faced a number of questions about the deal from shareholders. Schmidt assured the audience the buyout was about far more than merely getting ownership of Motorola’s patents. Can we guess that there’s some key Motorola tech in the upcoming Google TV units? Sony certainly has updated the hardware in one way–the over-complex remote control that amused us when Sony revealed its first Google TV effort has been replaced with a swisher, more smartphone-like affair.