The Korea Herald reported Monday that a Samsung executive, who was not named, said the company is considering making "Google TVs" with Android on them.
"We are considering (developing) Google TVs. We are examining the business feasibility of Google TVs," the executive told the Herald.
Having Android on a TV is another way to enable Web-connected sets to download widgets like YouTube, weather, stocks, and anything else on the Android Marketplace in order to bring in more content besides just channels from a cable or satellite company.
The trend of buying Web-connected TVs with widgets available to download is growing. TV makers like Samsung, Panasonic, Vizio, and others have either developed their own TV software or farmed it out to a third-party company. Using Android would be a cheaper option for them as it is open source and comes pre-made, meaning the TV makers can spend less resources on the software and more on the hardware. Plus, Android has a growing marketplace of third-party applications, so consumers could shop there for new widgets or apps instead of relying on their TV maker to secure new content deals with the likes of Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube, and others.
It's interesting that Samsung is considering working with Android since just last month it was reported that Sony and Intel were collaborating with Google on Android-based set-top boxes and TVs. The same Samsung executive told the Korea Herald it believes a Sony Android TV would debut later this year.
Samsung already uses Android on some of its smartphones, such as the Samsung Moment. Though the operating system has been thus far confined mainly to devices with screen sizes around 3 inches, some hardware makers are beginning to find uses for it on larger screens. There are 10.1-inch Netbooks running Android, as well as a 5-inch tablet from Archos. Dell has also said it's working on a 5-inch Android tablet, and it's been rumored there's a 7-inch version in the works as well.
But Samsung shipped 38 million TVs in 2009. If the company does choose to make its foray into Android-based TVs, that would be yet another important step for Google in expanding its overall reach.