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Tablets: The Google perspective (Advantage Apple iPad)

Posted in Industry updates, Mobile Computing, Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on July 1, 2010

Google will be late to the Tablet space, much to the joy of Apple, who will possibly have built an unassailable lead by then.

Like the Smart-phone race where the Android armies are contesting the market space with Apple most competitively, the Tablet space also awaits the advent of Android. That’s when the innovation game starts rocking (as is the case with smartphones).

Apple’s head start has insured that elements such as design, components, browsing and applications will now become an Apple led benchmark where others will be compared against the iPad. More or less, these elements will become the “hygiene factors” notable only in absence. The Android platform has proven to be the 2nd best user experience platform on smartphones and Android has been a fast learner (unlike the Symbian’s of this world). Although Android offers an increasingly assured experience, it will find it hard to rival Apple’s service and transaction led model. The introduction of iAd has further extended Apple’s lead in this space by broadening the appeal of its platform to more content developers and publishers. Not only does the iPad open up different avenues to online advertisements, it also affords a far richer experience for readers, with interactive features and advertisements. In the medium term, Apple would be able to integrate iAd and iTunes to enable one-touch purchasing directly from an Advertisement. An example is a reader could view a film trailer and go straight to relevant local listings and buy a ticket through the iTunes store.

The view from Android perspective is that Google has the level of integration within its own services which has allowed a quick succession of Android releases. However it appears that Android as a platform is not yet fully optimized as a tablet platform. One reason of the lack of optimization may be product development for display sizes of seven inches or more. It is assumed that the next release of Android Gingerbread will be fully optimized for tablets and will support large screen sizes. While market forces are driving Android to display sizes of 5” to 7” or more, Google still is in the transitional period. Gingerbread is slated for commercial release only in early 2011.This supports the view that there is little competitive play against Apple in 2010.

Apart from Google there are sparse reports of the Windows 7, Meego, Blackberry, WebOS and Windows embedded preparing their own platforms to mount the attack on the Tablet space. However these others, must take their nascent efforts underlying service and content models and combine them appealingly with slick hardware to close the yawning chasm that Apple has established with its iPad.

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