I suppose the question isn’t “can Google produce a tablet in six months”, but rather, “can they produce a GOOD tablet in six months?” Eric Schmidt, executive chairmen of Google, seems to think they can do just that. Schmidt told Corriere della Sera (an Italian daily newspaper) that Google was planning on crafting tablet and tablet devices “of the highest quality.” Better yet, Schmidt even admitted that the tablets would have a six month time frame to completion. It is important to know that Google isn’t at all new to the tablet game, as their “Android” operating system versions already run on some of the more popular tablets that are produced by Lenovo, Motorola, and HTC. Because of this, maybe it isn’t such a far fetched idea to imagine Google producing a well-made tablet in such a short period of time. Google has already slipped into the smartphone market with their “Nexus” brand.
However, while this may seem like a great move for the already thriving company, this may not be the best timing on their part. Consider that the tablet market has heated up considerably since the introduction of the first tablet PC’s years ago. The Amazon Kindle Fire, and the Barnes and Noble Nook Color have already jumped on scene with tablets priced at around 200.00 USD and with a decent amount of hardware under their hoods. In fact, recent reports are saying that the affordable price of the Kindle Fire could actually be hindering sales of the Apple iPad 2 by a fairly substantial amount. The iPad 3 is slotted for a possible March 2012 release, and due to the drastic price cut that Amazon has taken in selling its Fire tablet, we might actually see Apple lower the price on its newest tablet PC (although I personally don’t see that happening).
So what does that mean for Google? Well, plenty. Consider that Google is not only competing with Apple or Samsung for tablet supremacy if it throws its hat into the ring. The world of tablets has exploded to around the same size as the world of LCD televisions. Not only do you have larger competing brands, but you also have smaller brands that are trying to get in on the action. Now, Google has the necessary funding to literally “flash” a tablet through production and onto store shelves in a half a years time, but just how much is that going to raise their cost per tablet? If the old adage “time is money” is true, then we may see a finished product that is far too expensive to really appeal to most households. Consider that Amazon is actually losing 2.00 USD per tablet that they produce (it costs them approximately 202.00 USD to make a Fire and they sell retail for 200.00 USD) and that Amazon is banking on users enjoying the low cost and stability of their tablet so much that they spend some of the money they have saved on digital content. Could Google have the same success with this strategy?
Part of me wants to hope that Google can produce a high quality product at a low price in such a short period of time, but I don’t feel like its necessarily that realistic. With the Ipad POSSIBLY lowering its pricing and the Kindle Fire and Nook Color already cornering the low price point of the tablet market, the Google tablet would have to land somewhere in the 200.00 – 500.00 USD range. That is a completely feasible number to achieve, but at what sacrifices? A smaller screen? Less RAM? Is it really beneficial for Google to cut corners just so they can spit out a “decent tablet” in six months? Or is it better for them to take longer on production to provide people with a more economical and high quality product? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!