A Google Tablet Must Hit the iPad at Its Weakest Points

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-04-14 Print this article Print

5. Bundle Google Docs

The iPad supports Apple's office productivity suite, but users need to pay to access it on the iPad. Google can one-up Apple by offering its free Google Docs suite at no charge. That would significantly help the search giant appeal to enterprise users who want to have quick and easy access to a simple productivity tool.

6. Invest heavily in touch mechanics

If Apple has done one thing right with its iPad, it's getting the touch mechanics down. The iPad simply does a better job than any other device on the market at responding to touch commands. If a Google tablet can't offer equal or better functionality, it has no chance of supplanting Apple's product as the top tablet in the space. Realizing that, Google needs to invest heavily in touch technology in the tablet. If it can deliver a viable experience, it can more readily take on Apple.

7. Built-in turn-by-turn directions

Built-in turn-by-turn directions might not seem like the most important feature that Google needs to include in its tablet, but it could easily differentiate the tablet from the iPad. Currently, the iPad supports Google Maps, allowing users to find directions to their desired destination. But it's not a full Garmin-like experience out of the box. If Google wants to differentiate its tablet (and it should), building full GPS functionality into it would be a great first step. Users would need only to access Google Maps, input a destination and receive full turn-by-turn directions (and voice commands) as they drive at no additional cost. Tablets are supposed to be mobile companions. Why shouldn't they double as GPS units?

8. Connectivity is everything

A glaring omission in the iPad is its lack of USB connectivity. Apple has said it will get around that by offering accessories that will allow users to connect USB devices to the iPad, but that's doing too little, too late. Google has an opportunity to best the iPad if it can offer at least one USB port in its tablet. That would eliminate the need for consumers to buy an add-on to connect USB tools and give Google another differentiating factor from Apple. Connectivity could become one of the most important reasons to buy a Google tablet over an iPad.

9. Printing is a must

Another major drawback of the iPad is that it doesn't support printing. So, if a user types up a document or receives an important e-mail from a friend or colleague and wants to print it out, he or she can't. If Google builds printing into its tablet, it can once again appeal to enterprise users who are looking for more than an entertainment device. The ability to print could also appeal to consumers who, upon realizing that the iPad isn't a end-to-end replacement for a laptop, are looking for a device that really can replace a notebook on a daily basis. Printing could do wonders for a Google tablet.

10. Multitasking

Prior to Apple's unveiling of iPhone OS 4, multitasking in a Google tablet would have been a nice addition. But now that Steve Jobs has made it clear that multitasking is coming to the iPad later in 2010, it's now a requirement in a Google tablet. If Apple offers the ability to run multiple third-party applications at the same time, while Google's tablet doesn't, we can pretty much write Google's device off. Whenever Apple is in a market, looking like the hobbled alternative is never a good thing. The only way to beat Apple is to best it on almost every front. Not having multitasking would almost guarantee that Google's device would fail.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel