10 Things a Google Tablet Must Have to Challenge Amazon Kindle Fire

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-01-05 Print this article Print

NEWS ANALYSIS: The latest rumors suggest Google will be unveiling a new tablet to take on the Kindle Fire. But what should that device offer to present a serious challenge to the Amazon tablet that won accolades as a holiday sales hit?

Rumors abound that Google is planning to launch a tablet in 2012 that could go head-to-head with Amazon's Kindle Fire. That device, which launched late in 2011, has captivated consumers who wanted to buy a basic tablet without spending the $499 and up it costs just to get their hands on an iPad 2.

Exactly what Google has planned for its tablet, however, is unknown. In fact, the search giant hasn't even confirmed that it will introduce such a device this year. But with Motorola Mobility coming to its aid, there's a solid chance that Google will enter the hardware fray, and it could do so first in the tablet market.

The only question is how Google would design a tablet to challenge Kindle Fire's features and price. The Kindle Fire is a top product with a host of impressive features. Beating it in 2012 will not be easy.

But if Google wants to achieve that lofty goal, the company will have to make the following moves.

1. Google branding

The last thing Google should do is brand its tablet with Motorola Mobility's logo. To beat Amazon, the search giant must call it the Google Tablet and make it clear that from conception to implementation the tablet idea is its own. Consumers trust Google; they don't necessarily trust Motorola Mobility to make a tablet, as evidenced by the company's sluggish sales in that market. Google must keep that in mind.

2. A unique operating system

Although Kindle Fire runs Android, the operating system is unlike anything consumers have seen. Amazon spent considerable time fiddling with Android to make the Kindle Fire's OS its own. The smart move then is for Google to do the same with Android. Uniqueness matters in the tablet market.

3. A desirable ebook experience

Google realizes ebooks are the future. But so far, Amazon's Kindle ebooks are leading that space. For the Google Tablet to take on the Kindle Fire, the search giant must make a desirable ebook experience central to its plans. Such a move could go a long way in attracting those who want to get into ebooks, but don't know where to start.

4. It's all about integrated services

If Amazon and Apple have proved anything in the tablet market, it's that integrated services are central to a device's success. Apple has iTunes, the App Store and iBooks. Amazon has the Kindle ebook store, Prime Instant Video and its own App Store. Google must bundle all of its many services in its own tablet. To not do so would be a huge mistake.

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.

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