Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, made some noteworthy remarks to the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera. While talking about Google’s competition with Apple and his equation with the late Steve Jobs, Eric put it clearly that Mountain View is working to launch its very own tablet within six months and that this would make the competition decidedly brutal between the two California tech giants. Was this the tablet or rather the Nexus Tablet that everyone has been talking about?
Google has never hidden its ambition to compete with Apple in areas other than the OS space, where Android has clearly held its own against iOS. But the tablet throne undisputedly belongs to the iPad family.
Many an Android tablet has come with much fanfare, only to bite the dust in front of Cupertino’s revolutionary product. But could that all change with the Nexus tablet? If the rumors indeed prove true and if this does turn out to be the Nexus tablet then it needs to have three main things to give Google a chance at Apple.
The secret project “Majel” has to be a success
While Siri’s usefulness is debatable, there is no debating the fact that it’s helping iPhone sales. Most analysts agree that the sales figure would cross 30 million by the time the 2011 holiday rush ends. Siri is everywhere, its hip, its happening and people are talking about it. People have used it and have come to love it.
Schmidt was also candid enough to admit that Google was working very hard on its voice commands program. But when quizzed on whether Google’s product would be directly aimed at Siri, he was stoic. He kept maintaining that Google still possessed the better software for voice recognition but he did confirm that work is on to improve and further develop Android’s own voice recognition capabilities.
Now, quite a few rumors doing the rounds have put forward the name “Majel” for this clandestine Google X Labs project. Rumors have also picked on Sergey Brin announcing that a project being developed in secret would be released late this year.
Questions have arisen again as if this is the project that Matias Duarte hinted at when he said Mountain View was concentrating on a voice command program that would be based on a server rather a mobile handset.
If these rumors and hints are indeed based around “Majel” then this must be released as a feature without any bugs. Any deviation from this would simply create an image of Google trying hard and failing to catch up with Apple.
Google has to focus on advertising
Apple is a well-oiled marketing machinery manned by people who know a thing or two about creating innovative ad campaigns that make people shell out huge sums of money for their products. This is in stark contrast to Google, which is known to be passive in its advertising for Nexus devices.
For Google to compete, it has to ignite interest in the tablet among potential buyers. The Kindle Fire is a good case to emulate – everywhere I go, people are asking me whether it’s a good device and worth spending on (I think it’s great).
This is where I always find fault with Google. It has some great creative minds that come up with products like the Chromebook and Google TV only to be let down by an unimaginative sales effort. You might think otherwise but it’s a fact that these two products were doomed from the beginning. Samsung has distributed more Chromebooks for free than it has actually sold while Google TV never really took off.
I am not deriding its ability, it was very capable in my opinion, but its launch price ensured no one would even touch it. I am literally begging Google to come up with a more concerted ad campaign for its forthcoming tablet.
ICS cannot tread the beaten path on the Nexus tablet
ICS on the Nexus tab can’t be similar to Honeycomb. That is as simple as it gets. After flashing my Sensation with an extremely beta version of CM9, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was not Honeycomb with new make-up. If Google can come with an ICS tablet that is different from the previous generation iPads and other Android tablets then the fight is on.
The iPad 3 will, in all probability, be launched next year at around the same time mentioned by Schmidt. If such a collision does take place, non-geek users will be clearly drawn towards the product that has the more news-making feature. It’s upto Google now to decide whether it will be a high resolution screen or accurate voice commands. But whatever you do Google, make it eye-pleasing.
My take on the performance of Android tablets in the current market scenario has been well documented and, dare I say, flamed. I am still with the Android camp, own and use multiple devices and will stick my neck out for the platform but would refuse to settle for a mediocre effort. Android has a lot of untapped potential.
Google has undoubtedly made mistakes and some have been major enough to warrant severe criticism. While a few mistakes are expected, no one can deny the fact that Google on the whole has eroded the brand. I literally cringe every time I come across cheap Chinese knock-offs that function horribly but sport an Android logo.
This is one of the reasons why I want the rumored forthcoming device to be a Nexus tablet. If it turns out to be a success, the tablet scene will undergo a complete sea change. A level of competition will be unleashed that would lower prices and improve technology. And as Apple and Google slug it out, consumers will benefit enormously.