Earlier this week, Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam told the Wall Street Journal that his company is working with Google on developing tablets that will use several of the search giant’s services to deliver a device that could rival the iPad.
Those are big plans for a company that is currently far behind its top competitor in the tablet market. But they are also the plans that anyone who enjoys competition in the tech industry should like to hear about.
Apple’s iPad is the only major tablet currently on store shelves. And unfortunately for Google (and Verizon Wireless), it’s a device that has set the standard in the tablet market. Worst of all, a growing number of consumers-more than 1 million at last count-are quickly realizing that if they want touch functionality in a device that’s bigger than an iPhone or a Nexus One, they need an iPad.
Once the Google-Verizon tablet comes out, that might change. But the only chance of users opting for that tablet over an iPad will come if the new product boasts the features consumers really want.
That’s why we’ve decided to identify some features that must make their way to the tablet from Google and Verizon Wireless.
Let’s take a look:
1. Comparable touch control
The iPad’s touch screen has made it the success it is today. Tapping around the display is enjoyable, and controlling movement is unparalleled in the space. If Google and Verizon want their tablet to be successful, they must deliver touch control that can compete on every level with the iPad. Remember the BlackBerry Storm? Its touch interface and control was so poor, it didn’t even come close to matching the iPhone’s sales figures. Apple has set a standard for touch screens in the market, and Google must equal or surpass that standard.
The iPad is expensive. For the average home user who simply wants to be more productive on the couch, buying a cheap notebook or even a netbook instead of an iPad isn’t such a bad idea. That said, only Apple can get away with selling a tablet for that price. Google and Verizon can’t. That’s why the companies need to beat the iPad on price. Unfortunately for them, $50 won’t cut it. For the device to be successful, at least a $100 price difference is required. It also wouldn’t hurt if Verizon offered cheaper data plans than those from AT&T.
3. Flash support
The debate over Flash on the iPad is a heated one. And although Adobe’s standard has several inherent issues that could cause devices harm, it’s still operating the vast majority of videos and games on the Web. Whether Apple wants to admit it or not, the iPad browsing experience has been hobbled somewhat by the lack of Flash. Users can’t always see Web content, and playing games is practically impossible without downloading titles from the App Store. If Google can offer Flash, it would eliminate its need to ramp up app production right away. It would also help it deliver a better browsing experience.
4. Google’s core services (for free)
In order to use iWork on the iPad, owners need to dole out $10 per application. That’s not the end of the world, but it’s not ideal either. Google can use that issue to its advantage by offering its Docs service for free. Users would be able to edit documents, create presentations and consult spreadsheets from within the tablet without having to pay a dime to do it. The offering would not only help it with its battle against the iPad, but it could also help Google increase market share as it attempts to take on Microsoft Office. It’s a win-win for the search giant.