Google readying Android gPad tablet to compete with iPad

google-chrome-os-tablet

Google CEO Eric Schmidt schmoozed some news about the next business of Apple's they're about to get all up in -- an Android-based tablet competitor for the iPad. As reported in the New York Times :

Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, told friends at a recent party in Los Angeles about the new device, which would exclusively run the Android operating system. People with direct knowledge of the project — who did not want to be named because they said they were unauthorized to speak publicly about the device — said the company had been experimenting in “stealth mode” with a few publishers to explore delivery of books, magazines and other content on a tablet.

Cue gPad jokes in 3Interestingly, Apple's public frenemy number 1 -- and occasional Steve Jobs coffee date -- revealed right there that it won't be running Google's ChromeOS as anticipated, so the cloud-future once again suffers for the local, app-rich present. Given that Apple is closing the functionality gap with iPhone OS 4 (see our complete preview), and Google is closing the usability gap with Android 2.1 and FroYo, its going to a tight race. iPad a head-start, but so did iPhone...

Either way, we can't wait to see what Apple introduces next February so we can see what Google will compete against next September! (We kid! We love the competition!)

Footnote: 
[via Gizmodo]

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Google readying Android gPad tablet to compete with iPad

40 Comments

it's a little too late for that GOOGLE... I mean really how many people that bought the iPad will leave it and purchase this "invention" even if it has more functionality? At the end of the day the APPLE name sells.

Wow! It incredible how once apple releases something everyone else decides to do the same thing! But it happens only when apple releases something!

I love competition as well. Maybe we'll also see a windows phone 7 tablet by Christmas. LOL.

Just another me too. It is funny how Apple invents/reinvents a concept, spendsmoney developing it, spends even more money doing market research. Then production and marketing, then everyone else wants to come along for the ride for free basically. Intrducing nothing new or innovative.

@ cardfan because unfortunatly they usually don't do it better. Most of the time they offer one feature that the apple product doesn't do, advertise the heck out that one thing, and leave the rest of the product unpollished and sub par. The great thing is some people will praise anything that's not apple, so why would other manufacturers bother making their products better.

I really like the iPad, I played with one for a few min over the weekend, I might get one next year when they add a camera and more ram. But I want some kind of android device so I would consider an android tablet if it has good specs, the hp slate looks nice too.

No one does it better, just looking for that free ride and no innovation. Look at the Slate compared to ipad, it is basically a netbook running windows 7 on an underpowered mobile device.

good for google, but something new.... plz
looks like google wait for apple to release innovate products then copy and improve what seems to people like less about it, sorry my english

some of you here are kinda new to tech huh?
Apple doesn't invent much, This concept has been around for plenty long now. They're the toyota of computers just like almost everyone else. Great computers, but don't think for a second they invented TOUCH, multi-zoom, the tablet.
Here's a video from last year, something I'm waiting for, that has FLASH, voip, a camera for video conference, usb, 4g, etc....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESWuyOBihBM
This is just the start of many to come.......(ipad 2 will be in the winter suddenly WITH A CAMERA)

Look, everyone and their brother is going to come out with a tablet. Its the new family room tool, it will be there next to the TV remote.
So get used to it. Apple wasn't first, they are going to be far from the best, and its going to get pretty tiresome listening to all the fanboys whine each time someone announces a tablet.
Just as Nexus One or the new HTC equals or exceeds the iPhone in every category (except crapapps) the Google Tablet, the HP tablet will exceed their Apple equivalent.
While you are all lamenting the fact that Apple will have competition you totally miss the fact that it the Android platform is far less of a lock down that iPad. You might actually be able to PRINT those ballgame tickets you just bought on the Google tablet. You might actually be able to run any program you want on the HP Slate instead of listening to Steve say NO.

@Duvi:

Maybe we’ll also see a windows phone 7 tablet by Christmas. LOL.

Why yes, yes you will. Look at the HP Slate for one. Full MultiTouch Win7. And with HP's ability to turn around products the Slate 2 won't be far behind.
Having a world of Windows apps to choose from is pretty much going to deflate the puffery of the App Store. This is the device that will be in every factory floor, every doctors office, every board room. Not the iPad.

People, we're losing sight of the big picture in this talk about device. Consider this, Google had 2 OS's to choose from and they picked Android over Chrome. What does that tell you? To me, they selected the OS that is more app friendly over the one that is search friendly. This is from the company that believes that the web is the alpha and omega of tech. It's also the company whose revenue base is dependent on search. So, why fight on Apple's turf if they can present an alternative vision of the tablet - one where search and the web are front and center over apps? And does this make any sense since they were able to make Android free because it was paid for by search? Does this mark a turning point for Google? Are they going to take what was once free and monitize it in the way that Apple does? Lots of questions now that Google is trying to make themselves less like a search company and more like Apple. And challenging too since the AdMob deal is being held up by the Antitrust folks in the US Government. When it's all said and done the government will ask for some kind of concession from Google because too many people dislike the fact that they own online search.
@Ted, excellent analogy. Apple does reinvent exceptionally well.
@ icebike, good point about what will truly be an alternative to the iPad since the Windows shops will not necessarily fall in line with what Apple and now Google are doing. Enterprise editions will be key as will their price point.

@Ted- and when will we be able to buy that? Ok let me rephrase: When exactly is hell gonna freeze over?

The iPad is alright but I want more functionality out of my devices. It's the reason I will probably leave my 3GS and go android when my contract is up and it's the reason I would go google pad/windows slate. The ipad is nice and snappy and responsive as is my 3GS but I'm in no doubt that will come to the competition. Apples closed ecosystem and deathlike grip is what has over the last 9 months made me want to move. Never been an apple fan (never been an anti-fan tho) but I like to tinker and ha e the choice even if I never do.
Personal pref.

@The Reptile: Launching and Android Tablet rather then ChromeOS was the big news to me as well. Android really is a non-Google product, a traditional hardware-based OS. Even Palm's webOS is more Google than Android. That they're running to apps may be why Apple is doing iAd -- maybe Jobs was right and search isn't being realized on mobile devices the way apps are, and webapps aren't advancing fast enough for Google to put their ad eggs in that basket.
@Icebike -- I would agree but for the sneaky suspicion someone, somewhere, once wrote something almost identical about IBM and mainframes upon the advent of the PC, and DOS and CLI on the eve of Windows. Apple has a proven history of shaking up the market. They don't always win in the end (PC, PDA) but they have been lately (iPod, iPhone).
Functionality appeals to 20%. Usability to 80%. Apple's aiming squarely at the mainstream 80% who couldn't give a flying flip about all the things an HP Slate brings to the table.
The era of geeks may be over :-/

I agree with icebike. Unfortunatly even thoughnim not a huge fan of being in steve's pocket, I wish the alternatives had more attention to detail. I mean yeah android gives you more freedom, but it still feels like a beta compared to iPhone os.

I hate biters, I love the competition, but what I hate about the competition is the fact that you don't know what to buy. Although, I do like the Apple control. It feels really satisfying & thrilling sometimes ;D

@Rene Ritchie, while I agree with you that Apple is aiming for usability over functionality, the iPad is currently missing a few core things on the usability front. e.g. printing is NOT a geek-only activity (and no, the fact that kludgy 3rd party app workarounds are available doesn't count; system-wide printing needs to be a part of the iPad OS).

Around Christmas this year Apple should "control" leak that's it's building a car, just to see what company's, like Google and Microsoft, come out with car-building rumors of their own. Only for it to be the greatest April fools stunt of all-time, while proving that Apple is the only real mobile technology innovator at the moment - in a way, very sad for consumers. But I still look forward to a gPad, just to put pressure on Apple.

"Functionality appeals to 20%. Usability to 80%. Apple’s aiming squarely at the mainstream 80% who couldn’t give a flying flip about all the things an HP Slate brings to the table."
Err, no -- or at least I think you stated this way too broadly. Functionality ALWAYS comes first. If the device does not do what you need, all the buttery smooth UI in the world will not convince you to purchase it. An item has to do what the consumer wants -- a baseline minimum of functionality. Past that point, usability plays huge role, but before that, it is nearly irrelevant.
Say you are a consumer who needs to do 5 things, and are looking at devices A, B, and C. Device A only does 3. No matter how fantastic its usability, you would not buy it. Device B does those 5 things, and only those 5 things, but does them exceptionally well. Device C does those 5 things OK, and does another 10 things beside them. Which to buy? In the PC space, device C won handily (price differential did not hurt, either.) In the mobile space, so far device B (Apple, in case that was not blindingly obvious) is way out in front, though Android's marketshare growth suggests a not-insignificant number of people will purchase something slightly worse that does slightly more, so, even there, usability is not the sole deciding factor.
Usability is no more of an absolute than bullet-point lists of functionality. It plays a huge role when the gulf is great, but, when the differential narrows, the its importance diminishes dramatically. The danger for Apple is that Android and Win7's job is much easier; all they must do is narrow that gap with a few of their own innovations, and yes, imitations, and let their feature set assert itself. (Talking first party features only, of course.) Given enough cash to stay in business for a few failed attempts, this goal is easily attainable.
Apple, on the other hand, must not only maintain a wide usability differential, they must constantly look to ensure no "killer feature" blooms on another platform before theirs. Sustaining those twin goals for more than a few years is a much taller task, one we have seen Palm, Microsoft, and even Apple fail at before. Could Apple do better this time around? Possibly, but an initial usability lead alone will not cut it.

@icebike As always, I can't help but agree, lol.
@(copy of) Dev I'd have to agree too. Working at Best Buy. I've seen many a computer returned (yes, Macbooks also) because it didn't "function" how they wanted it to. Yeah it was usable, but it wasn't functional...at least to them. Same goes for Windows, it didn't function right so they returned it for another PC or even a Mac in some instances.
As far as this "nobody innovates but Apple" like Icebike said...lets not forget that Apple did not think of the tablet first. They did not think of the smartphone. They did not think of the MP3 player.
They enter the market, disrupt the norm, and cause change. I will give that to the company I have a love-hate emotion for.
Last I checked...Android tablets were out way before the iPad. Rumors of tablets for Google was out before iPad.
This is going to become one of those tired arguments like "Android would never have been if iPhone wasn't" which is a tired lie.
Andy Rubin had a plan for Android way before he knew about the iPhone. It would've been no matter what (going even deeper, iPhone actually takes from Andy's "child" the Sidekick if you look close enough).
The same will go for the tablet. No matter if the iPad would have been made or not, it would've been moving to that because many a manufacturer saw that Android did not translate to netbooks and non touch as well.
As for the ChromeOS...I was kind of hoping that would just have the Android Market integrated...but alas, my dreams are dashed :(
Sad panda.

Google is not copying it is the opposite. Google announced the Chrome tablet sometime in the summer of last year. Apple rushed the ipad out to be first to market. Again typical apple people who have there head up Steve Jobs *****. By the way did any read the specks on chrome. It has "real" multi-tasking, can do cloud computing, and has more advanced features then a netbook. An no the ipad cant do it. Get your fact straight!

I thought i heard Jobs say " we admit to not being the first...but we pride at being the best"? (not verbatim). Numbers talk BS walks. I keep hearing about all these other tablets that were out first. Where in the cuss are they? Ive seen more iPads in one week than all the "first" tablets all last and this year. Where are they? Who's carrying them. Demos dont do squat. You Tube is just that.. You Tube. I shop in retail stores. Again, where are THOSE DARN TABLETS?

There are people who will buy anything Apple makes, but there are also people who deliberately avoid Apple. The iPad is not the first tablet device, though you'd think such from the hoopla. The iPad is a decent machine, but it has the typical Apple limitations and you pay through the nose for it. With the aggressive pricing on Android tablets, things are going to heat up soon, especially once Google gets their act together with Android Market support on tablets. Most people don't really need a tablet, especially if the have a smartphone, though many Apple fans will purchase for the cool factor. I've used tablets hands on that have more flexibility and lower prices than the iPad, and things are only going to improve from here, both from Apple and the competition.

According to some people, Apple does 'All of the innovation and development of a product while everyone follows behind and copies what Apple does'.
Apple was not the first to make the smartphone. Credit goes to Blackberry, Apple just did a better job with their smartphone.
Apple did not invent the internet.
Apple did not invent the tablet PC. The first tablet can be credited to the Archos 9. Apple just did it better.
There are a lot of things Apple, Microsoft and Google did not invent. When something new is released they all jump on board. Why? For money. If Google left the tablet business solely to Apple, why would Apple ever need to innovate? They would make money for years off of a sub par machine if it were to have nothing new and innovative coming to the iPad on a yearly basis.
Competition is good, just because one business starts something doesn't mean it has sole rights to be the only company to make this type of machine. That is a monopoly.
With competition comes innovation, cheaper prices and happier customers. Since we have more than just one option when choosing things. Everyone should be happy that more businesses are getting into the tablet scene. (If you are looking to buy a tablet, anyways). Because it means that your device you bought will only get better, due to frequent upgrades caused by the competition.

It's funny to listen to the comments from all the Apple marks. They always seem to think that just b/c Apple did something, nobody can do it better and the competition is over. You guy need to realize for every person that loves Apple, there is at least one other person that hates Apple. I love their technology, I just hate how limited it is. Have to buy apps, no expansions, no Flash. If Apple wasn't so stubborn, I would probably have Apple products myself instead of having to wait 6 months to someone to clone their great idea, but make it more flexible.