Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What Google needs to learn from Apple

What Google needs to learn from Apple.

Release flagship product once a year, create a premium product, add powerful apps in house.

Release flagship products once a year.

Google is starting to get on track in terms of proper releases for Android. The Nexus line is released once a year with the new Android OS which is perfect in keeping interest high and fragmentation low just like iOS. Small point releases keep the OS moving in between major releases and keeps people from grumbling too much about lack of updates. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 6 month product staggered cycle with Nexus phones in the fall/winter and Nexus tablets coming in the spring/summer similar to the release cycles of the iPad and the iPhone. Right now it looks like Google has learned this part of the equation at least with the launch of their Nexus line of phones (including a glitzy launch party, maybe next time launch it from North America though).

Create a premium product.

Google is a little behind on this one mostly due to the fact that it is at heart a software company. Google must partner together with manufacturers to bring any ideas for its products to light and this may cause part of the less than premium lines we have seen. It is my understanding that for the Nexus program the Android team chooses the requirements and picks the manufacturer that it believes will create the best product with those internal components, however it does not seem to have much input into the physical design of the device. So far Nexus phones have echoed other product lines from the manufacturer with slight changes but with the same materials. I do not think that my Galaxy Nexus is by any means flimsy or cheaply made however it does not feel quite as substantial and premium as the iPhone 4S. Google needs to ensure that the company producing the Nexus devices uses top of the line premium materials to properly battle the folks at Apple (this will be especially important with the rumoured Nexus tablet due out later this year). I think Google is starting to consider this especially with the new focus on beautiful software coming into play they will want their hardware offering to reflect the same design principles.

Add Powerful Google Produced apps.

This category is a little bit of a double edged sword as Google does have some incredible apps that are included with their phones, however there are certain apps from Apple that just blow people’s minds.  Applications such as Gmail, Chrome (Beta), Maps and Navigation, Calendar and YouTube are all great apps and have been hugely successful and are much better on Android than on iOS. Apps such as iPhoto, Garageband and the iWork/iLife suite are just lightyears ahead of what stock Android has to offer. In order to compete with the fanfare that surrounds Apple products Google needs to put some energy into creating products that can compete on the same level as these wonderful software applications. Google is at a disadvantage in this area as most of the mindblowing iOS apps from Apple are versions of already successful OSX programs that Apple has just refined for a mobile device. Google products tend to be created from scratch and take ages to appear in public and almost always enter a perpetual Beta program. If Google wants to catch up to Apple in the tablet space it needs to focus on these sorts of apps that become very significant on a larger interface than on a phone screen.

Following these suggestions may not be enough to take down the mighty iOS but it will certainly create a more fierce competition in the tablet market which will be interesting to watch as Google releases Jelly Bean and Key Lime Pie.