The Hills Are Greener: Google and Tablets on the Surface

The Hills Are Greener: Google and Tablets on the Surface

Jun 25, 2012

This is a major week for Google and the tablet space. The Google IO conference is this week, and there’s the rumors floating about that they’re going to finally unveil that Nexus Tablet that has been the worst-kept secret in the mobile space so far. They may just need it because of the Windows-based Surface tablet that Microsoft just announced.

Now, the Surface is not necessarily targeting Android tablets – the market is just too small to sufficiently do that, and the iPad is currently king gorilla. In fact, Microsoft seems to want to attack the ultrabook market as well, with their Intel Surface tablets being priced in that pricepoint, with the ARM-based tablets taking on the iPad and Android equivalents.

In fact, Google may be more concerned that if they don’t control the 7-inch market, that they could wind up losing control of Android entirely. Offering an attractive solution with more power with more apps at the same price could be key for them, if the rumored Nexus Tablet actually does make its appearance.

What Google and Microsoft both seem to share right now is a common position of where the third-parties that support their software are their biggest hindrance. Apple has succeeded because they found mass-market hardware that they can sell with software that they can update without cost to the user, or a low cost. Windows updates are rather pricey; Apple just dropped the price of a major OS X update from $29.99 to $19.99. It may not be feasible for Microsoft to keep selling software, so getting into hardware may be their key to long-term success. After all, it’s how the Xbox is succeeding. They may need to make the shift into hardware production even if it means that they’ll be going up against the various corporations who sell hardware with their product!

Google knows all too well about this, and it’s a sticky place to be in, though Google isn’t making much money off of Android installations because the OS is free. But what the Nexus Tablet, if it’s a low-cost device, would do is serve as a salvo to the world that they are here to control Android. The Motorola move was part of this, and they’ve made Nexus phones, but the tablet market is such a hot spot that feels like it is in need of a true low-cost option that Google needs to make sure they’re a part of it, even if it puts them in an awkward relationship with those who sell hardware with their product!

Google may just be the next Microsoft after all.

Carter Dotson
Carter Dotson, editor of Android Rundown, has been covering Android since late 2010, and the mobile industry as a whole since 2009. Originally from Texas, he has recently moved to Chicago. He loves both iOS and Android for what they are - we can all get along!
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