Google-Branded Tablet Design: 10 Features It Must Have

NEWS ANALYSIS: Google is reportedly well on its way to launching a new tablet within the next six months. If that happens, what features should it have to make it a success?

Tablets are all the rage. Consumers around the globe are flocking to stores to buy products like the Apple iPad or the Amazon Kindle Fire, and countless companies, seeing that trend, are trying to break into that market. From big companies to small, just about every tablet maker hopes it can deliver a product that consumers and even enterprise users would be happy to use.

Surprisingly, though, Google is one of the few major companies that hasn't tried to enter the tablet market with a product of its own. In fact, the search giant has been content to simply offer tablet manufacturers the Android mobile operating system and then sit back to see if anybody can really make a go of it.

However, in a recent interview,Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt mistakenly let it slip that the search company is planning to launch a tablet in the next six months. Now pundits are speculating about what the device will offer.

Read on to find out what we'd like to see in a Google-branded tablet:

1. An Android version that's ready for primetime

One of the biggest mistakes Google made this year was to make Android 3.0 Honeycomb available to its vendor partners before it was ready. When the Motorola Xoom launched, the device fell short immediately because of its poor Android installation. In the Google-branded tablet, the search giant must offer an ideal software experience. If it doesn't, it'll be in for trouble.

2. End-to-end Google development

Google has in the past used its own corporate branding on smartphones. However, those devices were designed by third-party vendors. If Google is indeed working on a tablet, it should control all facets of its development.Firms that control the hardware and the software are typically more successful. Just ask Apple.

3. Multiple screen sizes

Although earlier in the year it seemed consumers really only wanted tablets with big displays, like the 9.7-inch flavor in Apple's iPad,the Kindle Fire has thrown that idea on its head. Now, it appears customers are just fine with 7-inch tablets. If Google wants to see its tablet become a success, it should offer multiple screen sizes, including 7- and 10.1-inch offerings.

4. Multiple price points

Along with multiple sizes, it's important for Google to remember that different consumers want different features and they want them all at varying prices. Therefore, Google would be smart to offer its tablet versions at different prices. A cheap model could go for, say, $199, while a top-of-the-line option could retail for $799. The move could maximize the tablet's market appeal.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...