When Google purchased Motorola back in August the secret was out of the bag, Google had decided to enter the mobile hardware business in order to compete with Apple. There’s been lots of speculation since the announcement; some think it was a bad move on Google’s behalf and that they should stick to what they do best. Others believe it was a move to grab valuable patents in the mobile space to fight off Apple’s patent suits. Despite all of the hype, chatter and speculation, I honestly believe they simply wanted to get into the mobile hardware business.
In a recent interview with an Italian newspaper Google CEO Eric Schmidt suggested that Google would be coming out with a new “high quality” tablet in the next 6 months. Schmidt didn’t specify if it would be a Google product and by not doing so he’s created lots of buzz. Will this be the next step for Google’s Nexus line of products? Is this the beginning of a new wave of mobile soldiers designed to battle it out with the ‘i” world? I think Eric is setting the stage for the launch of a major offensive in the mobile hardware business.
Despite Schmidt’s efforts to down play rumors that Google’s purchase of Motorola will put OEM (e.g. HTC, Samsung) Android resellers at a disadvantage, one can’t help but wonder when his story will change. Apple has proven that controlling the hardware has huge benefits when it comes to software and system integration. The smooth connections between iTunes, iCloud and iMacs are addictive for Apple users. When you buy one Apple product you often go on to buy 2 or 3 more because it’s so simple to do. Google must be looking at the potential growth for their business if they can create a similar business model. It’s likely they’re just buying time so they can figure out how to do it without derailing their current business model.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google mobile stores within the two years staffed with Google gurus selling smartphones, tablets and laptops. Google Music will explode on to the International scene as the Android OS grows its market share. Seamless integration with Google and Android apps will allow users to easily mobilize their Google world. No doubt the Google mobile device will have unique features designed to “Googlify” for coolness.
But the real value add for the new Google hardware will be Android’s total integration with Google Maps. If Google is smart they will leverage their massive world map database and use it as a competitive advantage taking geo-location technology to a new level. The growing interest in NFC technology will make this easy for Google.