Motorola Mobility intros SocialTV service

The service allows people to watch television while engaging in show-related social networking from a smartphone or tablet.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Motorola Mobility's new SocialTV Companion Service.
The SocialTV Companion Service is designed to increase interaction among television shows, advertisers, and viewers. Motorola Mobility

Motorola Mobility is trying to make it easier for people to multitask during their downtime.

The company launched a new tool yesterday called the SocialTV Companion Service. It lets content or service providers create an application that adds functionality to a tablet, smartphone, or laptop related to the show a person is watching on their primary television. The company sees providers "leveraging social networking, loyalty programs, advertising, and product merchandising" with the service.

Multitasking in the living room is becoming an increasingly popular exploit for consumers. In fact, last year, Deloitte found in a survey on 3D TV that 30 percent of respondents did not like the idea of wearing 3D glasses in the living room. Deloitte director Ed Moran said in a statement at the time that 3D glasses are a "barrier to the multitasking that consumers engage in while watching TV, including surfing the Web, reading e-mail, talking on instant message, and reading books, newspapers, and magazines."

That study followed Motorola Mobility's own Media Engagement Barometer, which it said shows "nearly 40 percent of Americans would prefer a TV viewing experience that offered access to value-add services."

Motorola's SocialTV Companion Service attempts to capitalize on that. Providers can add games and social features to facilitate interaction among a show's viewers. A real-time chat function is also available to providers, so people can communicate while a show is on the air.

A Motorola representative told CNET in an e-mail today that SocialTV will work with the company's range of mobile devices, as well as third-party platforms "with HTML5-compliant browsers." Thanks to that, other Android-based devices, as well as Apple's iPhone and iPad, will support the service.