Where do all these products culminate?
The answer is a tablet!
What Apple and Amazon understand and few other tablet makers such as Sony and RIM don’t is that tablet is not a device in itself. You need to give consumers an ecosystem to nurture the usage of the tablet and other devices. Tablets are no longer a device that has a space between smartphone and computer as Steve Jobs introduced. It is inching closer to replace computers. There is a keyboard dock for iPad!
Google understands this as well as Apple or Amazon do. They also understands how people communicate and hence is striving to build a good social network, despite the early struggle.
There is need for a completely integrated ecosystem where a user can listen/buy music or movies, communicate with friends/family and share thoughts/news.
High speed Internet connectivity is also a big hindrance to ubiquitous usage of content accessible through these devices. Google has been setting up fiber optics and hopes to provide broadband 10 times faster than existing US average. The gamble by Google to create a complete end-to-end ecosystem from Apps and OS to hardware and internet infrastructure is as ambitious as it could possibly be. Pulling it off could be as revolutionary as Google search was for internet.
There are two important hurdles:
First, monetization could be a challenge: would Google try to put Ads on their devices and sell them at affordable prices (and hence go Amazon way?) or Make fully controlled premium devices (and go Apple way?). Hybrid option may seem the best alternative, but the trade off is not clear. Monetizing access to Google Play answers some part of this.
Second, Creating a seamless experience for user across multiple Android devices could be a challenge. Can Google make access to content purchased from ‘Play’ (and everything else) on Samsung SmartTV/GoogleTV, HTC Android Phone and Sony tablet seamlessly? It is a tough task, and an area where closed-system approach of Apple and its array of devices are scoring over Android. It becomes even more important in future.
Google seems to have or building (and integrating) all components of making a seamless entertainment experience on multiple devices. It would be interesting to see how Amazon and Apple play out. I think the first casualty could be Amazon if Google does well, before threatening Apple.
P.S.: Started writing ‘why Google tablet is important’ more than a month back, but only completing now. There is so much more I want to write about this, but got to run.