10 Devices That Could Pay Off for Google's New Hardware Division

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-05-02
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Devices That Could Pay Off for Google's New Hardware Division
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    10 Devices That Could Pay Off for Google's New Hardware Division

    With Rick Osterloh at the helm of Google's new hardware division, the company has an opportunity to make better headway in a number of hardware markets.
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    Design More High-Quality Android Wear Smartwatches
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    Design More High-Quality Android Wear Smartwatches

    Market analysts say Apple Watch is leading the smartwatch market. Google can change that by either developing its own high-quality smartwatch or continuing to work with prominent third parties building smartwatches for its Android Wear platform. Smartwatches are expected to gain traction in next few years; having an attractive Android Wear alternative to Apple Watch would be a good move.
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    Android-Based Tablets Have a Future
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    Android-Based Tablets Have a Future

    If the Google Pixel C proves anything, it's that Android-based tablets that can double as notebooks really have a future. To that end, Osterloh should focus his company's efforts on building upon the Pixel C's success and deliver a true Google hybrid tablet. Like the Pixel C, such devices could be popular both in corporate and educational settings.
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    Build More High-Quality Nexus Smartphones
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    Build More High-Quality Nexus Smartphones

    As in the past, Google will likely have a prominent role in its Nexus device development but rely on others to manufacture the smartphones. But to truly compete with Apple, Huawei and Samsung, among others, Google and Osterloh will need to find the right partners that can deliver the features customers want. Let's hope for big, curved displays; high-quality designs; and powerful processors.
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    Enterprise-Friendly Chromebooks Are Good Idea
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    Enterprise-Friendly Chromebooks Are Good Idea

    In recent weeks, companies such as HP have come along with enterprise-friendly Chromebooks. But that should only be the start. Google and Osterloh need to get more companies investing in enterprise-focused Chromebooks. Google's Chromebooks have a bright future, and Osterloh needs to ensure it stays that way.
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    Why Not Compete With Echo?
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    Why Not Compete With Echo?

    It's no secret that Google wants to have a stronger hand in the smart home market, so why not develop a comprehensive Amazon Echo competitor? After all, Amazon's smart home appliance delivers all of the features Google can bring to bear, including calendaring, music playback and voice control. By putting its own spin on an Echo competitor, Google might be successful.
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    Google's OnHubs Seem to Be Catching On
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    Google's OnHubs Seem to Be Catching On

    Google has partnered with a few companies for its OnHub routers, and most benchmarks suggest they perform quite well. The next step for Google, therefore, is to enhance its efforts in that area. Hopefully, Osterloh can find ways to improve OnHubs by delivering more range and faster speeds, among other features. Google has an opportunity to be among the best router providers in the market. Osterloh should make that happen.
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    Compete With Apple TV and Roku With Chromecast
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    Compete With Apple TV and Roku With Chromecast

    Google has been expanding its Chromecast line for both video and audio. And at least so far, those cheap devices have been popular among customers. Google should expand its presence in the entertainment business by building more Chromecast devices and improving upon those it already offers. Again, Google wants to play a role in the home, and Chromecast is a fine way to help it achieve that goal.
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    Follow Through on Project Ara Modular Smartphone
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    Follow Through on Project Ara Modular Smartphone

    Google hasn't talked much about its Project Ara modular smartphone of late, but that could soon change. Project Ara was actually built at Motorola, but Google kept it after the company was sold to Lenovo. With Osterloh, who formerly worked at Motorola, now at the helm of Google's hardware division, there's a good chance Ara updates will be coming sooner rather than later.
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    Where Is Google Glass?
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    Where Is Google Glass?

    Google Glass has been in hiding for the past year, but Osterloh has reportedly taken that project under his wings. The latest reports suggest that Google Glass will be designed for enterprise use, and there's a good chance more details will be shared this year. Let's hope that's true and that Osterloh's team gets all of the bugs worked out before it hits the office.
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    Don't Forget Virtual Reality Headsets
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    Don't Forget Virtual Reality Headsets

    Google seems committed to bringing trendy hardware to the market, so Osterloh might want to consider a virtual-reality headset. HTC, Oculus, Samsung and others have already shown off headsets, and reports suggest Apple is even looking at eventually launching one of its own. Why shouldn't Google follow those companies with an appealing virtual-reality headset?
 

After some trouble in bringing together the many facets of its hardware business, Google on April 28 hired former Motorola President Rick Osterloh to run a new hardware division. Osterloh has been hired to manage several product lines, including Google's Nexus brand smartphones and the Chromecast digital media players, as well as facilitating better relationships with Google's hardware partners. Osterloh's task will not be easy. Google has been gradually working its way into a wide array of hardware markets, ranging from smartphones to wearables. Osterloh will need to corral those efforts and deliver products that can compete effectively with popular alternatives. He'll also need to ensure that the quality of products built by Google's hardware partners—who develop and make everything from smartphones to routers—is up to par. Along the way, Osterloh will need to achieve his hardest goal—making hardware buyers happy. This slide show covers the various devices Osterloh's team could develop to do just that.

 
 
 
 
 
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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