Google's tablet strategy: follow, follow, follow

Google needs to push a new tablet model — like a free device supported with ads — if it's ever going to be a player. Following Apple and Amazon isn't good enough.

commentary Google needs to push a new tablet model — like a free device supported with ads — if it's ever going to be a player. Following Apple and Amazon isn't good enough.

The Google Nexus 7 launch.
(Credit: CNET)

Google will roll out a 7-inch tablet, the Nexus 7, with Asustek. It goes for AU$249, and is aimed at Amazon's Kindle Fire. Wrong target.

What Google really needs to do is launch an array of tablets powered by Android that can roughly match Apple's iPad. And the price should be near free.

In other words, Amazon's move to subsidise e-readers with special offers and ads could easily be ripped off by Google. After all, Google is an ad machine.

Instead, Google partners with a hardware ecosystem that can't match Apple's supply chain. If Google really wants to be a tablet player — prosumer, consumer or business — it needs to hand out devices like Chiclets, and make the difference up with those lucrative blue contextual links.

Google also needs to play to its strengths. Apple's strengths are integrated software and hardware with a supply chain that's second to none. Amazon's strengths are turning devices into commerce kiosks. Microsoft is pushing the envelope with its tablet designs, and will leverage Office.

Google, meanwhile, still hasn't worked Android-only apps or cooked up models that are differentiated. Its tablet strategy looks a bit messy. Roughly speaking, it goes like this:

  • Follow Apple

  • Follow Amazon

  • Maybe even follow Microsoft's Surface.

  • The bottom line: Google is following the tablet parade, when it needs to lead.

    Via ZDNet US

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