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 spendingthe $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.
Google Tablet Needs a Laser Focus on Right Market Niche
5. A better price?
By the end of 2011, it was clear that pricing was one of the most important features of any tablet.The Kindle Fire likely wouldn’t be as successful if not for its $199 price tag. Google will need to determine the right price point for its own tablet. But if it’s more expensive than the Kindle Fire, it might lose out. A cheaper price might be Google’s only option as it aims to move into the Kindle Fire’s market niche.
6. Wide-ranging availability
One of the main reasons Amazon’s Kindle Fire has proved successful is its availability. Each time a person loads up Amazon.com, he or she finds the Kindle Fire on the homepage. Considering how popular Amazon.com is, that’s a huge advantage for the retailer’s device. To combat that, Google must make its tablet available, well, everywhere. Ubiquity is the only way for Google to stem the Kindle Fire’s rise.
7. A clear marketing message
Looking around the tablet space, it’s hard to find a single company,outside of Apple and Amazon, that truly understands how to market its tablet. Commercials are abstract and confusing. Online ads lose touch with the average consumer’s desires and, along the way, sales fizzle. Google must know what it wants to say about its tablet as well as what consumers want to hear. If it can’t do that, it’ll be in trouble.
8. Laserlike market focus
One of the key reasons Amazon has been so successful in the tablet space is that it understands what market segment it is trying to reach. It’s not going after consumers with boatloads of cash to spend-instead, it is targeting customers who haven’t bought a tablet yet but perhaps don’t want to spend too much to do so. Google must also determine what its market is and stick with that. If it doesn’t, hard times will follow.
9. A 7-inch screen only
There are some people who believe that the best way to beat Amazon’s Kindle Fire is to trump the device’s screen size with something larger. That’s a mistake for one main reason: It risks consumers misconstruing the tablet’s competitor as the iPad. The last thing Google should want to do is compete against Apple’s iPad.Amazon’s Kindle Fire is beatable; the iPad isn’t. And to even make consumers think that Google’s device is competing against Apple’s slate would be a huge misstep on the search giant’s part.
10. A commitment to the cloud
Lastly, it’s important for Google to focus heavily on the cloud. Although many consumers in the mainstream have yet to make the move to the cloud, it won’t be long before they do. What better way to get buyers to choose Google’s tablet than to deliver cloud storage and data synchronization services with its device? The cloud should be central to any plans Google might have with its tablet.