June 27, 2012

Google Said To Unveil Tablet At I/O, Taking Aim At IPad

Google, along with other companies, are looking to compete with Apple's iPad for share of the tablet market
Google Inc. (GOOG) plans to unveil a $199 tablet co-branded with Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc. at its developers conference this week, taking direct aim at Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The 7-inch tablet running Android mobile software will be shown at the Google I/O conference, starting today in San Francisco, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. The device will also showcase new features of Android, according to one person, who said the latest version of the software is named Jellybean.

Google is scouting out new ways to fuel sales of tablets, a market that may almost double this year to 118.9 million units, according to Gartner Inc. Though Android has grabbed more than half of the smartphone market, tablets with the software have won less than half the iPad’s share, and will face new pressure from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), which unveiled its own tablet last week.

“The tablet market is a major challenge for Google at this point,” said Clayton Moran, a Delray Beach, Florida-based analyst at Benchmark Co. “They need to have a competitive product with the iPad.”

David Chang, chief financial officer of Taipei-based Asustek, declined to comment, as did Shari Yoder Doherty, a spokeswoman for Google.


Google shares gained less than 1 percent to $564.68 at yesterday’s close in New York. The stock has fallen 13 percent this year.

Google Brand

Android tablets are already available from companies such as Samsung Electronics Co., HTC Corp. and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., which Google acquired last month for $12.5 billion. Still, Google is aiming to capitalize on its own brand name. It also seeks to woo consumers with a slimmer device that features the latest software yet carries a lower price than the larger iPad. The newest versions of Apple’s tablet start at $499.


“When you look at the tablet market, you have iPad -- and others,” said Rhoda Alexander, an analyst at industry researcher IHS iSuppli. “Everybody is trying to figure out how to compete against the iPad. And I just see it as just one more experiment going down that road.”


This would also be the first tablet to get Google’s Nexus designation. Google has worked with manufacturers such as Samsung in the past for Nexus smartphones to highlight the best features of Android software. The processor in the new tablet will be provided by Nvidia Corp. (NVDA), one of the people familiar with the matter said.

Gartner expects the iPad to remain the global tablet leader through at least 2016, even as it loses some market share. The iPad will account for an estimated 46 percent of shipments in 2016, down from a projected 61 percent this year. Android may have 37 percent by 2016, a gain from 32 percent.

Post a Comment