Google Gets in the Tablet Game. iPad Rival?

The New York Times reported today Google was hard at work on a tablet computer to rival the iPad. Although specifications were not released nor timelines or prices confirmed, the article did provide some interesting insight into a new front in the current war between Google and Apple.

The real news in the item isn’t that Google is working on a tablet computer. You could safely assume Microsoft and Google had been researching the area long before news of the Courier project or this Google tablet broke. What is interesting is how many of the items cited in the article, and attributed to the Google tablet, are barbs pointed directly at Apple.

The first such barb is Eric Schmidt’s revelation the tablet will run Android. This may not seem like big news considering the connection between Android and Google. What you do have to consider though is why Google would select Android over Chrome OS. Forgot about that didn’t you? Chrome OS of course was supposed to be Google’s answer to traditional operating systems, a simple Linux shell running a version of the Chrome browser as the main interface element. Everything a computing device running Chrome OS would need exists in the cloud. The ultimate lightweight (and inexpensive) OS. So why would Google abandon it? Apps. For better or worse people love apps and Android has an extensive library of them already. And why would that be so important? To mount a frontal assault on the iTunes App Store.

The second significant barb is Google’s endorsement of Flash. As the old saying goes, politics can make strange bedfellows, and the current union between Google and Adobe is the strangest. Google, like Apple, has long supported a standards-based web experience that disposes with third party plug-ins. Third party plug-ins like Adobe Flash. So why, as it says in the article, would Google make a point of saying their tablet would support Flash? Well as another attack on a perceived (but not necessarily real) shortcoming of the iPad.

Ultimately, you have to wonder how far Google will get by simply creating a device that “is” what the iPad isn’t. The iPad is an innovative and differentiated device not because it was created by committee in a boardroom from a wish list of their competitor’s shortcomings. As I’ve said in a couple of articles already, the real strength of the iPad is the experience. Apple didn’t chase the desires of users and tech journalists, it didn’t try to be everything to everyone. Instead, Apple made the iPad what they wanted it to be with the experience and strengths and weaknesses of what it is. If Google is serious about making a product that will sell even a tenth as well as the iPad, they would do well to focus not on the criticisms of competitors. Google should take a cue from Apple and make the device they want to make and let the market decide which is better.

What do you think? Is the Google tablet a cynical attempt to create a device that isn’t an iPad to make a few quick bucks? Does Google just want to profit from criticism instead of making a truly innovative device? Should Apple be worried about a successful Google tablet? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section.

[bits.blogs.nytimes.com]

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Erin PetersonGoogle Gets in the Tablet Game. iPad Rival?
  • Payk

    It sounds like Google is hitting the panic button, Why, I cannot fathom, it's not like the iPad cannot access Google's search engine. But then Apple is also working on an alternative to Google add serving functions mmm $$$, is that where the panic is coming from?
    I personally was waiting for ChromeOS, I do regular searches for info on it, and I have made several downloads of 'trial' versions – I cannot wait, an alternative to Microsoft 's vision of the web (usually involving abandoning the family and heading for the study/computer room)

  • aragoran

    Check out the new iPad’s App,
    http://www.200linx.com/
    It also works on regular PC – Firefox, Explorer and Safari browsers.
    200Linx.com will make your surfing experience a whole lot easier…
    it’s simply the best site for the new iPad
    try it…
    also for canada, uk, spain,germany, france, brazil, india, mexico, australia and russia..

  • Erin Peterson

    Hi David. Thanks for responding to my article. I think ultimately the market will decide the fate of the iPad. If Google makes a better product then Apple will be forced to innovate and the cycle will continue. It will certainly be an interesting year in tech.

  • Erin Peterson

    Hi KK. Thanks for expressing your opinions on my article. I can certainly appreciate you point of view and it is certainly very valid. I am neither madly in love with Apple nor do I have a vested interested. In fact, I find some of Apple's business practices exclusionary and questionable. What I do respect about the company though is their unwillingness to follow the pack mentality that largely rules the tech industry today. I didn't say that including Flash was bad business, merely that Google's motivation for including it, instead of sticking with some previously vocal announcements about supporting the standards-based web, was to rub it in the face of Apple. Making a product based on a list of the shortcomings of the competition is not the way to make a signature device. And love it or hate it, the iPad has Apple's signature all over it. Thank you again for responding. I love discussing tech.

  • KK

    I could not even finish this article. How immature! Of course they are/were trying to figure out what people desire that ipad doesn't offer-it's called good business sense! Common sense works that way too. Car companies do that too. They are trying to offer what the others don't. COMMON SENSE! I was all psyched up to get an ipad-until I discovered it didn't have flash. And now someone is making one with more features that I want….and why do you call that bad business??? Thank-God you are just a bad writer and now a businessman! You sound like you are either madly in love with Apple or you have a vested interest. Don't get me wrong-I have 2 Apple's at home-love them both, but I also have the brains and rationale to know I can love my Apple AND have a google tablet! Grow up and get a clue about things before you write about them.

  • david colon

    I'm sick of apple, some one needs to kick their asses!!!!