Execs at Verizon recently verified that they’ve teamed up with the folks at Google to create a tablet computer designed to compete with Apple’s highly touted iPad. Rumors have circulated for about a month that something has been in the works between the two giants.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Verizon Wireless exec Lowell McAdam as saying that they’re “… looking at all the things Google has in its archives that [they] could put on a tablet to make it a great experience.” No specifics have been released any further than that, leaving the market abuzz with speculation on what this news could mean for the tablet PC.
If Verizon expects to get an edge on the iPad’s incredible one million sales in 28 days, they’re going to need to bring something spectacular to the table. One of the biggest unanswered questions is which operating system this tablet would use.
The most common consensus is that Verizon and Google would continue to use the Android software stack. Android was originally designed to be able to used in smaller devices like mobile phones, or to be added to and expanded to support more demanding devices, such as the tablet PCs. It’s an open-source platform, unlike Apple’s OS, which means that garage hacks could spawn the next brilliant innovation based off of it.
Some experts think rather than using Android, the new tablet should go with the Chrome OS. Google has been relatively forthcoming about its development of the software, and has made previous announcements that they expect it to be powering netbooks by midyear.
Whichever operating system the tablet uses, it’s got some heavy competition against the iPad. Rather than target an imitation, Verizon and Google would do well to listen to the complaints already surfacing about the iPad. Primarily, is the lack of storage structure.
Consumers like their files to be saved in an easy-to-find and well organized system, and thanks to Apple’s secretive nature, file retrieval is a big hassle on many of their portable products. Window’s cascading style is what we’ve relied upon for years, and carrying that over to the tablet could go a long way in cornering the market. Adding Flash support and Microsoft Office would almost guarantee it.
Unless Verizon and Google can package their device into the ultra-sexy and sleek sort of package that Apple is notorious for, they are going to need to set their price point a bit lower than Apple’s. Data plans are another factor. Will Verizon set a one-plan-for-all precedent, or will they allow their customers to pick and choose from different sized buckets of data plans?
Many questions remain unanswered as of yet, but one thing is certain; as this mysterious new tablet consolidates itself in the next few weeks, we will know what shape the future of computing will take.
Niraj Sheth, “Verizon, Google Developing iPad Rival”, The Wall Street Journal