Can Google win the Tablet Market?



Last month, Google unveiled  Google TV in their partnership with Intel, Sony, and Logitech. They also announced their partnership with Verizon to rival the Apple AT&T alliance. With all that partnerships, does Google have what it takes for wining the tablet market?  To find out, let’s see what Google is and is not first.

Google is all about archiving bits and bobs of web based and user generated content à la YouTube, a few free web apps and some services – hardly “a great experience” to swoon over, argue critics.

Google advocates, on the other hand, point out that it isn’t just the media itself which is important, but the means to deliver content through them. Thus, combining what Google does have with the search giant’s powerful Android operating system and developer relations strategy, the firm could yet provide value to the tablet kingdom.

Google has spent years to scan and achieve the expired copyright books, about  10 million today. As for the new books, Google has also been working with authors and publishers to digitize their works and make them partially viewable online, in something dubbed the Publisher Partner Program. Customers can browse through parts of the books and then find links to websites where the full book can be downloaded, or to libraries, where the book can be borrowed.  So,  10 million books digitized by Google Vs. 50,000 books by Apple.

Therefore, while it is indeed true that Apple has nurtured its relationships with content and copyright holders, business is business and Google has the same pull with an arguably better deal to publishers.

After all, Google doesn’t make any commission from the books sold through its Publisher Partner Program, instead, satisfying itself with earning some cash from the targeted ads running alongside the content of the books.

Adding incentive to partners, over half of that ad revenue goes to the publisher.

In terms of other content Google can offer tablet partners, there are of course the obvious ones like Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Talk, Google Health and the rest of Google’s free offerings, along with a host of as yet unannounced partnerships.

Is there an app for all of the above on the iPad? Probably. But lest we forget, one pays very dear for Apple’s one of a kind tablet, whereas Android tablets will likely come in all different shapes, sizes and price points.

Of course there are also those who would posit Google simply doesn’t have Apple’s pizzazz, and couldn’t possibly create a tablet as sexy as Cupertino’s.

By controlling every single little piece of the supply chain Apple, the Google doubters maintain, can effectively ensure that the finished product is exactly up to its exerting standards of design.

By contrast Google, which gives its free Android OS out to anyone and his Taiwanese mother, could be leaving itself open by allowing for substandard tablets to be made using its brand. This could not only damage Google, but do Apple a great service.

On the other hand, one could argue that the same has been true of Microsoft in the PC space, which also licenses out its Windows software to any PC maker that wants it, although its products are not free by any stretch of the imagination.

In its defense, Google is known to control access to the next build of Android, and some of that early access is dictated by how the operating system is going to be used by Google’s partners – so allowing a tablet that would damage Google’s cause to be created seems rather far-fetched.

Back to the question I raised in the beginning – does Google have what it takes for wining the tablet market?

Beats the hell out of me. Both Apple and Google have had the history of surprising the hell out of us many times before. So, it is hard to say if Google can pull this off. I Just wanted to address several  facts here and open up to question to you. So, who do you think will win the tablet market?

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and telezoo.com that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @ awesomize.me

3 Responses to Can Google win the Tablet Market?

  1. Speaking from a UX perspective (which I acknowledge is only one angle on this multi-faceted discussion) Google seems to rely on developers and believe in the intelligence of the consumer, whereas Apple seems to rely on itself and assume nothing about the consumer which makes them much more quantifiable…. so if I were setting odds I’d put Google at 50 to 1 with Apple at 5 to 1

  2. Cindy Marks says:

    I would LOVE to see Google triumph here!

  3. I think with the way that apps can be devloped for android much easier than for apple devices that they could tip the market in thier favour, and with people use to the sytem on a lot of phones they will be happy to use it, contray to apples “view” not everyone has/wants an iphone and not every one think they are the best thing since sliced bread

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