|Google + Asus = Nexus|
If you have been keeping up with the tech rumors, you know that something big is coming from Google in the next few months. Rumor has it Google is partnering up with Asus and a handful of others manufacturers to develop tablet hardware. By summer we should see what is likely the next big thing in tablet computing. And this time it may actually sport official Google branding. Referred to by most as the "Nexus Tablet," this new tech toy could potentially be Google's flagship device that could change the Android landscape.
The current reality is that Google's Android platform, while far reaching, is splintered. If you have anything other than a brand spanking new Android smartphone, the odds are good that your operating system is out of date, or worse, has reached the end of its life. Now, that doesn't mean your phone is completely worthless it just means that the system won't be updated and you can't run the newest version until you upgrade to a newer phone. The market for smartphones is nearly split 50/50 iOS to Android (though Research In Motion's Blackberry platform is still kicking around in that lower percentile). Within the Android platform only about 3% of phones are on the latest version.
I suppose its tough to lump everything together as Android can run on just about any modern device, but the point is that Android exists on millions of phones and tablets yet these different devices come in all different software flavors. The various manufacturers adding their own custom interfaces and programs on top of the "Stock Android Experience" (i.e.: Samsung's TouchWiz and HTC's Sense UI) can confuse old and new users as to what Android is supposed to be. Vendors are certainly free to do this but creating an experience that is different from one device to another is potentially harmful to Android as a brand.
I love Google and their various products, but my frustrations with their missteps have brought me to this conclusion. If they want Android to remain relevant and stand a chance at loosening Apple's grip on the market they should check out some of the ideas I have come up with a few ideas to help them out.
- The Nexus Tablet is probably your best chance at gaining market appeal outside of smartphones. Use this fact to your advantage! The wireless carriers have ruined stock android and built up their empires on top of your hard work. Don't pair this with any cellular carriers! Keep the stock android experience as pure as possible.
- Please update this device regularly! Only a fraction of your user base is on the newest version of the OS, don't leave so many of your users behind on the old software. If you cut out the carriers it should be pretty easy to push updates provided everyone is on wifi.
- The stock experience stands on its own and if you can convince the novice users of this, they will request it from the carriers on their future devices.
- Pair this device with solid hardware. Other manufacturers will have a bar to shoot for the healthy competition will only boost your user base. The cheap (and cheaply made) android tab fad will be over.
- Make the Google Play Store more universal so everyone can use all the apps! Its great when everyone is on the same page. It would be nice if more stringent rules were in place to get on the market, but there are gems to be found among the weeds. On a side note, getting some high profile multiplayer games will not only help the device
- Please don't enforce an archaic DRM policy. You have a vast variety of media outlets, if the Nexus Tablet can leverage all parts of Google media the "Apple Ecosystem" will have a lot of catching up to do.
With the most recent news of cost and hardware debates possibly delaying a release of the Nexus Tablet for mid summer, the chips are stacked against it. Launching a brand new tablet into a market flooded with iPads, Kindles, and Nooks wont be easy. It may be even harder as new Windows 8 tablets and rumored "iPad Minis" will all be fighting for the same territory.
With a dedicated user base and a ton of media buzz around the tablet, it shouldn't be too hard for the biggest tech company in the world to have a successful tablet. I'm just hoping that the Nexus Tablet leverages the power of Google to be the premier tablet computer and succeeds at unifying Android on all fronts.
Rob Richburg is the co-founder and owner of Enthus Reviews , part of the Enthus Life network. They will be our first affiliate. Full announcement coming soon.