Weighing Google vs. Apple Choices
Android, Gartner's Valdes said, could be more adversely affected by the iPad because Android-based netbooks and tablets would be geared to run the thousands of games in the Android Market. But consider this: Apple can sell millions of iPads before consumers even get a glimpse of a Chrome netbook, and Google will still be omnipresent on the iPad thanks to its leading search engine and other Web applications, such as the Chrome Web browser.Google's search is the gateway to digital services such as YouTube, which is now offering online rentals to garner revenue, and the Google Editions online bookstore.The Google Book Search project is pending court approval. Once resolved, the Google Editions online store could offer access to millions of books, competing with the new iBookstore for the iPad. Apple is starting from scratch in the digital book realm and its strict DRM rules will limit Apple's reach, Gartner analyst Allen Weiner told eWEEK. "This isn't music. There aren't millions of songs and MP3s that can be put in the iTunes store," Weiner told eWEEK. "Much of this content is in a form that would need to be digitized and made ready for these devices." He noted that while Apple needs to do a lot of work to get this content ready for the iPad, Google has that process in place. Google can get in the books game quickly with Google Editions. One area Apple's DRM lockdown doesn't affect is the Web browser. The Chrome Web browser presents another entry point for iPad users. When Google released Chrome for the Mac platform in December, Chrome's market share spiked to 4.63 percent, passing Apple's Safari browser in worldwide market share. "Chrome browser on iPad gives Google a nice path to further its 'any device' strategy," Weiner said. "[Google] wants to be [on] as many devices as possible. I don't see any way Apple can keep them off. Apple will have to hope they can do a better job [of] rendering content, developing apps, integrating the Apple experience with the content and pricing." But it still might come down to this: If you're an Apple fan, you're probably going to stick with what you know and love. If you're a Google fan, you may hold off on buying an iPad until you see what the Chrome OS or Android netbook experience is like. What is clear is that in the cloud computing war, Google has supplanted Microsoft as Apple's nemesis. If iPhone versus Android doesn't excite you, maybe the coming iPad versus Chrome OS battle will.