A mouse maker roars with Google TV

November 3, 2010, 7:00 AM UTC

Gizmo maker Logitech hopes to make it big in the consumer electronics business.

Logitech, best known for making computer accessories like mice, webcams, and keyboards, wants to be a player in a burgeoning and potentially hot business: smart TV. And it has teamed up with Google and Intel to do it.

Based in Fremont, Calif., Logitech (LOGI) is the first company out of the gate with a contraption that brings Google’s new TV product to any HD television — provided there is the right input gear and broadband access. Google (GOOG) supplies the Android-based software that will enable all sorts of apps to run on your TV, and Intel (INTC) the computer chips to power it. Logitech wraps it in a $299 hardware package with a keyboard and other control devices that consumers can plug into their flat-screen televisions.

At first blush it might seem as if Logitech’s system, called Revue, is just another gadget. But it puts Logitech, with $2 billion a year in sales, squarely in the middle of what’s finally shaping up to be the living room of the future. And once Logitech gets a seat on the couch, it plans on being a constant companion.

Since Revue enables all kinds of Android-based apps, it’s also a platform for Logitech’s own consumer services, including videoconferencing. (For more on home videophones, click here.) The company promises additional fare focused on gaming, music, and even home security. So while Logitech isn’t getting into the flat-screen business directly (yet), it’s heading into territory already explored by the likes of Sony (SNE) (another partner in Google TV), Samsung, Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Cisco’s (CSCO) consumer division.

Logitech’s CEO says that the path from the PC to television is a natural course for the 30-year-old firm. “Content is moving everywhere, from your PC to your television, smartphone, and the meeting room,” says Gerald P. Quindlen. “Our job is to help people interact with all that content. We are thinking bigger, and this presents us with all sorts of opportunities.” Looks as if the mouse company is getting ready to roar.