The Quest for a Killer Tablet

Gina Trapani, in her list of what google should do in 2012, talks about Google releasing a killer tablet on its own:

Forget trying too hard not to offend other Android device manufacturers. Googorola should get this tablet exactly right, down to every last ever-loving detail, with the hardware and the software teams living, breathing, eating, and sleeping together on it.

What Gina seems to be forgetting is that Google’s priority has always been to get Android everywhere. That’s why they keep touting the rate of activations of Android handsets. That’s what is important to Google, it’s their goal, and it’s where they are succeeding. To keep up success in this area, they need a continuous flurry of Android handsets flooding the market. The best way to do this, is to get as many device manufacturers as they can behind Android. That is why Google cannot afford to “offend other Android device manufacturers”.

Get at least a few third parties who make apps that cover the major categories of things people do on tablets (news browsing, gaming, social media) to play along before launch, like the NY Times, Twitter, Angry Birds.

In terms of apps for tablets, Google seems to be stuck in the same chicken-or-egg position as Microsoft with Windows Phone. Little demand for the product translates into low developer interest. Maybe Ice Cream Sandwich, the one os to rule them all, can break through the development kit fragmentation and convince phone developers to build tablet apps too.

Cash in on Google’s brand loyalty and recognition and market it simply as “the Google tablet.” The messaging should be: If you use and love Google, this is your tablet.

I can see why people are turning to Google as the savior of the Android tablet market, after so many phone manufacturers have been unsuccessful in creating the killer tablet. Brand loyalty and recognition are important, and people do seem to love Google. The difference is, people don’t so much love Apple as they love the products that Apple builds. It’s a lot harder to feel connected to a brand, a web service or an operating system, than it is to something you can hold and touch.

The iPad remains alone in its market, even after so many attempts to mimic its formula. It appears Steve Jobs was right after all when he described the iPad as being magical.