Verizon announced Tuesday that it’s working with Google to develop a tablet device to directly compete with Apple’s runaway success, the iPad. Verizon’s tablet will run on Google’s Android operating system and likely reach the market later this year, reports the New York Times. Dell and Toshiba are also developing Android-enabled tablet devices to compete in an Apple-dominated market.
Apple released the iPad in the U.S. on April 3 and sold a million devices in 28 days, validating a market need. Now, it’s time for others to jump on board. “Everyone is going to have a device that is going to compete with the iPad,” said Al Hilwa, an analyst at research firm IDC in Seattle. “Apple created that market, legitimized it. Everybody has seen that this is going to be huge.”
“Other vendors are not going to stand by and just cede that market to Apple,” said Michael Gartenberg, a tech industry analyst with the Altimeter Group. “We’re going to see more competition in this space.” Other than not wanting Apple to corner a potentially huge market, why are carriers and tech innovators jumping on the tablet bandwagon? Over 90 percent of Americans own cell phones, narrowing the market opportunity in cell and smart phone devices. Consequently tech innovators are exploring new frontiers — the most promising of which is the tablet market.
But what is Google’s competitive advantage over Apple? Google’s Android finally surpassed Apple’s iPhone OS in the smartphone market. In the first quarter of 2010, Apple secured a 21 percent market share, Android gained an astonishing 28 percent, and RIM’s BlackBerry held strong at 36 percent, reports Fast Company. Capitalizing on the success of its mobile OS, Google has a leg to stand on in the highly competitive tablet market.
Here is what a Google tablet could look like:
Moreover, carriers need to step up and take initiative as well. “Obviously, the carriers want to get in on this gig,” said Hilwa. “It’s going to be very competitive.” AT&T has exclusive rights to Apple and Verizon needs a strong tech innovator, like Google, to compete. Dell and Toshiba’s tablet devices can also be valuable assets to carriers, however, not as promising as the two tech heavyweights.
The tablet market does look appetizing, but competitors should not sacrifice usability over brevity. Apple set the benchmark, “wow” experience with its iPad. If Google unveils a whimpy, iPad knock-off, it could experience underwhelming market performance. To achieve success in the table market, Google needs to parallel its tablet OS with its Google-esque user experience. The search giant needs to figure out how it can add simplicity, open-source, empowerment, ease-of-use to create its own “wow” experience. Once Google incorporates these elements into its tablet, it will surely be a strong competitor in 2010’s hottest market.