11:30 AM --
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) will unveil its new Web TV platform -- rumored to be called "Smart TV" -- today at its I/O developer conference in San Francisco, according to reports from TechCrunch and others.
Google will be joined by partners Sony, Intel, and Logitech for the announcement.
Details about Smart TV are thin so far, but according to The LA Times, it will be built into Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes. It will run on a customized version of Intel's Atom chip with the Android operating system on top.
Forrester Research Inc. analyst James McQuivey told USA Today that Google will attempt to get Smart TV users to "sign in" when they watch TV so it can track viewing habits for advertising purposes.
"If anyone should be scared about this announcement, it's Comcast," McQuivey added.
In other news:
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iPad App Store has reportedlygone live in Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries, including the UK and France, just over a week before the iPad's international launch date on May 28.
Google announced today that it plans to create an app store for its Chrome Web browser, to launch later this year. These apps will remain online, for use in the Chrome browser, rather than being downloaded like Apple's iPhone/iPad apps.