Apple stands ready to challenge Google in the cloud computing wars with the new iPad, Gartner analysts say. The iPad is geared to provide the most compelling mobile Internet experience users have seen to date, but Google later in 2010 is expected to bring its own vision for mobile Web consumption in the form of netbooks based on its Chrome Operating System.
Apple's iPad is positioned
to challenge Google's plans for cloud
computing if the tablet PC catches on, analysts believe.
The iPad aims to provide the most compelling Internet experience
users have seen to date, with Apple CEO
Steve Jobs proclaiming that holding the tablet is like "holding the
Internet in your hand."
The 9.7-inch IPS screen displays crisp
high-definition video, as well other content such as games, e-books and e-mail
for users to consume from the Web or the cloud. Author Nicholas Carr, who
watches the cloud computing space closely, summed up the iPad:
"It wants to deliver the killer
device for the cloud era, a machine that will define computing's new age in the
way that the Windows PC defined the old age. The iPad is, as Jobs said today,
"something in the middle," a multipurpose gadget aimed at the sweet
spot between the tiny smartphone and the traditional laptop. If it succeeds,
we'll all be using iPads to play iTunes, read iBooks, watch iShows, and engage
in iChats. It will be an iWorld."
Not if Google can help it. The search engine later in 2010 is expected to
bring its own version of the Internet held in users' hands: netbooks based on
its Chrome Operating System.
There is also the slew of Android-based tablets and netbooks that companies
such as Acer
and Asustek Computer
are building. Even Dell CEO
Michael Dell was showing off the Android-based Dell Mini 5 tablet
at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
The iPad will clearly be a challenge to Google's plans for cloud computing,
which include making sure Google search and Google Apps reach any device
connected to the Web. Gartner analyst Ray Valdes said Apple and Google are on a
collision course with overlapping machines.
"You could look and say that iPad is being targeted to the broad market
of casual users rather than say the road warrior who needs to run Outlook and
Excel and the people who are going to surf the Net on the couch," Valdes
told eWEEK. "One could say that a netbook based on Chrome OS would have an
identical use case."
That sets up a classic quandary for consumers: Do they buy an iPad starting
at $499, or a Chrome netbook that will likely be priced in the same range or
Valdes sees two types of users on the couch: a teenager playing games bought
from Apple's App Store on an iPad, and a mom or dad consuming Internet content
on a Chrome OS netbook.