Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) envy should be sweeping across the technology world. Fourteen years after it was founded, the $38 billion Web search engine giant and online advertising company is still acting like a startup, and although rival Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is the world's biggest enterprise by market value, Google is actually the one that's pushing what I call real vs. incremental innovation.
Apple's iPhone 5 built on the company's legacy of highly successful smartphones and sold out in its first weekend. That was not really surprising; it's become a pattern with Apple and the mystique is wearing thin. Plus, few people see the iPhone 5 as revolutionary. The company's more recent products have mostly been very successful, but not one of them can be said to have indeed broken any new grounds -- from the iPod to the iPhone and the iPad, they've all been evolutionary developments on existing products.
Google's strategy has been somewhat similar (for example, the Android operating system and the purchase of Motorola Mobility) but the company has stuff in the works that point to its willingness to devote significant R&D resources to next-generation products and ideas. There are parallels to the Google story at Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), which is also in online advertising, operating systems, tablets, and via its partnership with Nokia, in mobile handsets. Their business models are almost similar, but more on this below.
"Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," according to a statement on its Website, but in reality it recognizes no investment boundaries and has financed projects far removed from its core Web search business. It funded the driverless car, which has now received legislative support in three US states, including California, where governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill authorizing the use of the vehicles following the establishment of specific rules and regulations. Naturally, Brown signed the legislation at Google's headquarters.
Google has even niftier products in development. The company's "smart glasses," featuring a head-mounted camera and display have wowed celebrities and fascinated ordinary consumers attracted by the idea of using voice command to take pictures, record video, pull up information, and display and control all these simply by tilting the head up or down. The Google smart glasses are not in production yet but prototypes have been seen in public and a few lucky folks have been able to test them.
If Google rolls out commercial versions of the smart glasses in 2014 as promised, many consumers will want them. The queue at retail outlets on its debut might be even longer than any of the extraordinarily long ones we've seen each time Apple launched an iPhone. That's why I believe Google is one of the companies best positioned to take on Apple, because it has clearly shown willingness and ability to compete strongly for market share in its traditional online advertising, mobile operating system and handset markets even while breaking away from the pack by investing in non-traditional markets. Watch the video below for a demonstration of Google smart glasses.
So, here's my prediction for 2013 and beyond. Apple will continue to rule in the tablet PC market but it will be less dominant in smartphones and may even lose market share here. Its story is also getting stale: revenue, profits, and stock price soared again this year and it released a ho hum iPhone, which everybody naturally wants, but what else is new and exciting about Apple? Unless it does something extraordinary -- introduce a completely new product or surprise us with a major improvement on an existing device -- the more exciting story of 2013 won't be about Apple. I suspect we'll all be more interested in the growing rivalry between two software-giants-turned hardware manufacturers: Google and Microsoft.
Google and Microsoft started out as software companies before branching into hardware. They are direct rivals seeking unorthodox ways to diversify operations and remain vibrant. They've also got legacy products spinning off huge cash they can tap for acquisitions and R&D, and have been willing to step outside their immediate markets to try new things. Inevitably, they have clashed in online advertising and operating systems, and will butt heads in tablets, mobile, and other futuristic products. That's a story worth watching.
While Google seems bamboozling its rivals, making all sorts of innovations. One thing remains that is yet to resolve and tackle really well - security. Andorid OS has security lapses, though i dont have Android phone.
@t.alex: you are right; it depends on version from vendors, in general it has a solid mass storage quite small (comparing hd inside netbook or notebook) for allowing, properly, its starting-up; apart that, you work by using cloud paradigm; for now, we are assisting to limited promotions' actions also from vendors which have produced hw based on ChromeOS, I mean Samsung for example; it is quite hard to find it at discounts, sales are really broadcast on-line, instead; other point is about the price, in the range of netbook-notebook; maybe it is quite early for considering what will be the impact on the market, surely, it is another piece of puzzle of Google vs. Microsoft.
It is a good point t.alex; I know for example that people which have tried the "no-logo" version a few month ago, told it brings a fascinating and innovative approach, in the sense that you need to tune your customer experience towards cloud instead of in working with stand-alone software. My thoughts went immediately on connection availability and its speed rate. After all, you haven't software installed inside, you haven't a storage hard disk inside, then the network is a key component for the success of the innovative OS from Google.
Has anyone tried the chrome book ? I believe it's one of the direct rival product of google versus Microsoft windows for laptop or desktop. Google bets on chrome OS running off the cloud seems to be an innovative approach.
@Jacob: exactly, you can reach socials via smartphone if you have subscribed a pre-paid or post-paid plan with a given operator, including data. The major plus of SIM for FB is in the fact you don't need it and as far as I know, other Internet players are becoming a SIM provider. We will see in the near future what happens.
@Jacob: thanks for agreeing and sharing your thoughts; there is another step to consider and after all, it could sound as news, but it is not a real news; Google has announced its understanding in becoming a player in the finance for providing startups with funds devoted to marketing campaigns. Then horizons are splitting, not easy to say the new ones.
@WaleB: well, it is a good point to figure out, definitely. From the provider perspective, even several users did some duplications within the profile, he has to manage the service for the total "records" created. It doesn't matter if records are mapping real or virtual profiles. That said, we could discuss how is legal or not and for marketing announcement, how is important and appealing to count total profiles instead of limiting only to real profiles.
mfbertozzi, accessing FB over mobile is possible with most of the Smartphones, irrespective of whether it’s a pre-paid or post paid. But you have a valid data plan; otherwise the service provider won’t allow using data access. Then how FB mobiles are significant when compare with other mobile phones.
By moving to the core of the industry and offerings services that keep the system humming, a group within the electronics market has rendered irrelevant the question of ownership and control of the supply chain.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.