Did Google Humiliate Apple, Amazon and Microsoft with New Product Announcements?
In less than two hours, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) surpassed expectations and showed off a series of products and services that outperformed similar products from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).
Let us start from the beginning. Google confirmed the obvious and unveiled a $199 tablet called the Nexus 7 that features a 1280×800 display, a Tegra 3 processor from NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA), and a shiny new interface called Android 4.1, AKA Jelly Bean.
This tablet is not enough to deter Apple loyalists from buying an iPad, which is expected to break new sales records this year. But it could be enough to thwart any chance that Amazon had of competing in the tablet space. While Amazon may have taken control of the Android tablet market in America, the online retailer is still a small competitor to Apple's dominance. With Google's announcement, the search engine giant is poised to take over the low-end tablet space, and may ultimately diffuse the sales impact of Surface.
Right now, high-end tablet buyers choose the iPad, while low-end buyers choose the Kindle Fire. The problem for both Amazon and Microsoft is that the Nexus 7 seems to offer a high-end experience that is closer to the iPad than any other tablet. This, in theory, could hurt Apple. But it is more likely to hurt Apple's competitors, who have yet to release a tablet that is comparable to the iPad.
The Nexus 7 is likely to attract existing Android phone users, as well as consumers who want a tablet but (for whatever reason) do not want to buy an iPad. Google's tablet may also expand the market by attracting consumers who were not previously in owning a tablet.
When all of these factors are combined, it is easy to see how Google could rule any part of the tablet market that Apple does not already control.
Google Just Made Apple's Maps App Irrelevant
During the company's I/O conference, Google announced that you will be able to download the map for an entire city and use it offline in Android 4.1. This will be particularly useful for Nexus 7 users, which will not have access to Wi-Fi in some locations.
Thus far, Apple has not announced a comparable feature for its Maps app.
The newest version of Android features so many tweaks and changes that it would be impossible to list them all here. Some of the more notable adjustments include offline voice typing (which was fast and accurate during the live demonstration), improved voice search (with fast responses that could give Siri a run for its money), and an updated camera app. That latter upgrade is more of a cool gimmick than anything else, but by allowing users to swipe simply and seamlessly to view and delete images, Google is bound to impress some users.
This is another cool feature that stands apart from everything that Apple and Microsoft are doing.
In short, Google Now will:
- Tell users when the next bus or train will arrive.
- Reveal any bars and restaurants that are in the area as users walk down the street.
- Help users get somewhere on time. For example, if a user wants to take the bus to work, Google Now will tell the user when to leave, how long it will take to walk to the bus station, and how long the bus ride will last, in order to help the user arrive on time.
- Provide sports updates in real-time. Google will pull data from users' searches to automatically determine their favorite teams.
The Future Is Upon Us…Or Is It?
After introducing the Nexus 7 and the Nexus Q (a "social streaming media player" that costs $100 more than the Nexus 7), Google took a moment to demonstrate the next evolution in social technology -- Project Glass.
This time, however, the company did not use beautiful women to make the glasses look cool. Instead, Google demonstrated how the glasses could be used to record every aspect of a user's life.
While the first-person view concept is cool, it is not all that different from the experience obtained by users who strap Webcams to their heads. Google's technology is more advanced, more seamless, and (if the demo is any indication) more reliable. But Project Glass is not yet the revolution that some were expecting.
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