What’s Google showing now?
Google is expected to show off a new champion in the tablet computer wars this week as it courts developers whose fun, hip or functional programs are vital to internet gadgets or services.
The range of sessions at the annual Google I/O, geek-speak abbreviation for Input/Output, gathering of software developers that kicks off today will be as wide as the company’s array of products and services.
But the objective behind the workshops, talks, and parties will be to assure software savants that it is worth devoting time and energy to “apps” that shine on stages such as Android, Chrome, YouTube, Google TV and Google+ social network.
“What is going on is a battle for hearts and minds, both of consumers buying the devices running on these platforms and of developers who create the apps that have so much allure to people,” said Forrester analyst Charles Golvin.
“Now, it is not so much a numbers game regarding who has more apps as it is a uniqueness game to see who can come up with the next breakout –like a Draw Something or Words With Friends – that the other guy doesn’t have.”
Words With Friends was a Zynga game that became a hit at leading social network Facebook. Draw Something is a smartphone game that rocketed to success after debuting on Apple’s iPhones.
Google is under pressure to unify Android operating software for smartphones and tablets that has suffered from “fragmentation” as competing gadget makers put individual spins on the free software.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Google will pull back the curtain on an 18-centimetre tablet made by Taiwan-based Asus and bearing the California internet titan’s Nexus brand name.
The tablet was expected to be powered by a new generation Android operating system called “Jelly Bean” and have a starting price of $199 (€159) to take on popular Kindle Fire electronic readers made by Amazon.com.
“Seven-inch has been a favourite with readers,” said Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group. “Amazon has a new Kindle due out and Google might want to position something against it.”