Can Logitech Salvage This Google TV Disaster?

Mmm, what you say --
That you only meant well?
Well, of course you did.
Mmm, what you say --
That it's all for the best?
Of course it is!
Mmm, what you say --
This is just what we need?
You decided this.

-- "Hide and Seek," by Imogen Heap

Logitech International (Nasdaq: LOGI  ) has given a 17% haircut to the price of its Revue box. My only question is, what took you so long -- and why won't you go any further?

Being one of the first retail-ready examples of a Google TV device, alongside a couple of solutions from Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) , the Revue carried the heavy burden of proving what Google TV can do. Trouble is, nobody wanted to pay $299 to find out, especially if it meant keeping an absolute monstrosity of a remote control on your coffee table.

Logitech sold about $5 million worth of Google TV gear last quarter, which works out to less than 17,000 units. That's being generous, mind you -- some of those sales could be for add-on (and equally craptacular) remote controls, keyboards, and video cameras.

To put that underwhelming unit haul into perspective, consider that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) sold 1 million Apple TV boxes in less than four months. But it's not really a fair comparison. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) and Logitech may pack more power into their entertainment hub, but they don't have nearly the design chops that Apple does -- and a richer feature list isn't worth triple the Apple TV's price tag.

What's worse is that Logitech's 17% price drop won't make one whit of difference -- it's simply not bold enough.

I was in the market for a media hub right around the launch of both Apple TV 2.0 and Google TV, and I never came close to considering the Revue or Sony's marginally more attractive offerings. They're not worth $299 in a world with Apple TVs, Roku boxes, and even attractively priced and highly capable Western Digital (NYSE: WDC  ) media centers, and $249 isn't a heck of a lot better.

Make Android and iPhone apps the default control method, lose the now-superfluous remote hardware, drop the price tag to $99 or less, and then ask again. Maybe then we'll really know what Google TV can do on an even playing field.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Google but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Dear sister, by the time you read this, National Poetry Month will be dead. Google is a recommendation of Motley Fool Inside Value and Motley Fool Rule Breakers. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Logitech International is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position on Apple and a write covered call position on Logitech International. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, Logitech International, and Western Digital. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.


Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2011, at 1:06 PM, Henry3Dogg wrote:

    Since you mention the terrible Logitec remote, I thought, to be fair, one should mention the new AppleTV remote... Which is a piece of art.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2011, at 1:51 AM, daymonh wrote:

    You should have added $179 to your poll, since that's what a Dish Network customer would pay. I happen to love the remote, but I have a nice coffee table to set it on, and that's a personal preference. Some like it, some don't. Logitech does offer a free app via Android market with all the functionality of the remote on your phone, so the remote is really a non issue. The Logitech Revue may lose some functionality with non Dish DVRs at the moment since it only supports deep DVR integration through Dish Network. In this respect the Revue rocks. Also, Google TV doesn't need saving (you heard it here first). It's still in its infancy. There are GUI, and software changes on the horizon, plus the app store is coming sometime this year. Is the Revue overpriced? I think so, but it's new. The price will come down over time. That's just how these things work. You shouldn't compare Apple TV to the Google TV software, or the Revue hardware. The two are not in the same league. For starters Apple TV is simply a DLNA player made to work with Apple. Nothing more. The Revue on the other hand works like a computer without a hard drive. It can do anything a tablet can do, but does it on your TV.

  • Report this Comment On May 02, 2011, at 11:55 AM, steamerlane wrote:

    The Revue should be getting an award for this decades best product and you are mocking it? I'm surprised, usually you guys are on it. Perhaps you guys own cable stock? Me and my friends have been saving $80+ a month on cable bills. We've cut the cord and gone completely googletv on Revue ,for the last 6 months. The entire HD internet is available on our HDTVs at our fingertips. You see there is a browser, unlike appletv. I couldn't be happier. Between cnn.com, foxnews.com, newyorktimes.com, pandora, netflix, vimeo, espn3.com, surfline.com and on and on the HD content is simply amazing right there on my tv for bloody FREE (except netflix).

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2011, at 4:21 PM, KAL64 wrote:

    The Revue does prove what Google TV can do and it does it very well. $199 might be a good price point for this box; however, I definitely wouldn't describe the Revue equipment as "craptacular". I've had Google TV for some time now and have to agree with steamerlane, full access to the internet on a 50 inch LCD isn't too shabby. I kept the HD TV - can't go without certain programming - but I'm also streaming Netflix, Napster, etc. It terms of the remote, I actually wanted a full keyboard (Logitech sells a small, handheld keyboard as an option) to better navigate the web, type emails, etc., plus, it seamlessly controls all of my devices, including my DVR. I also own the video cam which is about ten times better than anything I've seen on the market. One thing I'd like to see in the future is a few more apps.

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