Live at CES 2015, CEO Kaz Hirai just announced that the company's new smart TVs will run on Google's new platform for television, Android TV. The remote control for the TV is essentially a giant trackpad, so that you can navigate the Android TV interface more easily. The remote also comes with a microphone, to make searching easier. Because they run Android, they'll also all support Google Cast, so it will be easier to fling content from your phone to the TV.
It's not the first time that Sony has bet on Google to help with its living room bets, but we all know what happened to Google TV in years past (it failed). Android TV, however, has a much better chance of success, if only because it's less ambitious and therefore has fewer ways to fail. Basically, it does the things you expect from a smart TV and does them better and with a nicer interface than most smart TVs, so it's an easy win. Theoretically, at least, because we're not going to say the curse of Google's living room failures has lifted until we've tried it.
The biggest hurdle, for now, still seems to be reliable 4K delivery. From the looks of things, Sony has decided against other options like curved displays or next-generation technology like quantum dot, too. Instead, it has put its full force into a pretty deep line of 4K sets that can fit in a small bedroom or look good in a home theater setup.
Sony bets on Google, again
Sony is announcing no fewer than 11 Bravia LCD TVs from 43 up to 75 inches, including some that are only 4.9mm thick at its thinnest point. That's one-fifth of an inch, if you're imperial, but no matter what system you use it's thin, as you can see in the image below. We're still not completely sold on the necessity of pushing (squeezing?) televisions in this direction, but you can't deny that it's a technical achievement.
Sony is powering its smart TVs with its own processor, called the "4K Processors X1." Rather than explain why every product name has to have either an X or a 1 in it, Sony touted its ability to improve the color accuracy on its "Triluminos" display.
Models should become available in the spring.