Google's iPad Clone Will Be a Cheaper Kindle Fire
You'll never guess what kind of tablet Google CEO Larry Page wants to build.
Give up? The chief exec says that his company is focused on creating lower-priced tablets.
"Obviously, there's been a lot of success on some lower-priced tablets that run Android, maybe not the full Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) version of Android," Page said during this week's earnings call (via AppleInsider). "But we definitely believe that there's going to be a lot of success at the lower end of the market, as well with lower-priced products that will be very significant. And it's definitely an area we think is important and we're quite focused on."
"Lower-priced" does not have to mean "lower-quality." But in technology, price often plays a role in the quality of what you get. While some could argue that the iPad's $500 MSRP is proof that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is selling its tablet at a premium, the reality is that everyone in the industry aimed for that price and failed. Thus, competitors were forced to lower their prices and/or find a way to build cheaper tablets.
In doing so, less significant features (such as the camera) were removed from the package. The screen size was often cut from 10 inches to seven inches because, according to tablet manufacturers, you can't make a 10-inch device for $200. In some cases, 3G connectivity has been scrapped as well -- all in the name of cutting costs.
This strategy worked well for Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), which started selling its first rock-bottom tablet -- the Kindle Fire -- last November. However, while many users were happy with the tablet's overall size, durability and functionality, critics were unimpressed. Granted, tech critics tend to be a little biased (as are critics in most other industries). But after using an iPad, it's really difficult to scale down to anything else. And that's why Apple continues to succeed -- even with a significantly higher price point.
When Google announced its plans to destroy the third-generation iPad, some people scoffed, some people laughed, and some didn't care. Those who were paying attention, however, envisioned the release of an innovative and groundbreaking tablet that could make users think twice before purchasing a competitor's device.
Now that Page has opened his mouth regarding Google's focus toward lower-end devices, it makes it sound as though the company has given up all hope. Instead of trying to one-up Apple with a quality device, Google appears to be gearing up for a price war.
If that is indeed the case, then there is a good chance that Google's tablet won't be that different from the Kindle Fire. That might be great for a $200 device -- but it would be a bit disappointing to those of us who were expecting something a bit more revolutionary.
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