Apr 5th, 2010

ipadiPad, iPad, iPad! That seems to be the only thing people have talked about the past few days. From discussing how long the lines would be, to talking about pictures of how long the lines were, to talking about how awesome or average their iPad was – the iPad is absolutely DOMINATING the news. And, if you ask, this is awesome news for both Android and Google.

Allow me to explain.

There is no arguing that Steve Jobs and the folks behind Apple have reached the pinnacle of brand loyalty and advertising/marketing prowess. When they launched the iPod it literally defined an entire product category. When they launched the iPhone it revitalized the entire mobile industry and also became a product icon, setting a new standard and raising the bar. With the iPad, Apple is essentially (again) creating an entirely new product category.

How is this good for Android and Google?

Companies can create AMAZING products, but if they can’t convince anyone they want to or need to buy those products, it doesn’t matter. With Apple, a customer’s decision making process is a bit different: Apple makes the product and people automatically assume they need the product. Otherwise Apple wouldn’t have created something so awesome, right?

archosThe “tablet” concept hasn’t gained much momentum, despite being tried and tried and tried over the years. Heck, you could find an ARCHOS Android Tablet in a local Best Buy retail store, but 99% of the universe doesn’t know that. Why? Because people were hardly aware this product category existed let alone convinced it was something that would be useful.

Now that Apple has launched the iPad, consumers have an assumed understanding that yes, tablets are pretty cool and useful and are a “mainstream” product that an everyday person should consider buying. Basically, Apple has single-handedly done about 80% of the marketing/advertising and consumer education legwork for EVERY tablet manufacturer that comes after them. They’ve put the form factor on the map, and now, people will start to take notice at competing products that attempt to accomplish the same goals.

At the moment, Android is all about phones. Since the early days of Android we’ve heard about having the operating system prevalent in netbooks, MIDs, tablets, GPS devices, home entertainment equipment, heck – even washers and dryers! But has any of that materialized? Nope. But now its much more likely… or at least a successful “Android Tablet” is much more likely. Because, again, Apple has done the hardest job which is convincing customers that the product category itself is something worth considering as a purchase.

chrome-osThe iPad isn’t only good for Android, and to be honest, it could be much more “good” (or “gooder” as the linguists would say) for another Google property: Chrome OS. We know they’ll be launching a Chrome Netbook later this year, and with the iPad already available, consumers won’t be asking the question of “does this serve any purpose”. The Chrome Netbook, tablet, and/or any other hardware launched with a Google OS will automatically be perceived as a contender for discretionary income thanks to Apple “pointing out” the product category to the public, basically saying, “You need one of these.”

And don’t forget how Google as a whole benefits. More internet in more places means more Google searches which means more ad views which means more revenue. Not to mention, as 4G and other data improvements occur, you’re able to load and view more webpages in a shorter period of time which – guess what? – means more revenue for Google.

Don’t get me wrong, Google is a brilliantly innovative company. But in this case, they’re lucky to have a company like Apple sharing their playground. With the iPad, Apple has opened a lot of doors to a lot of consumers with a lot of potential products. Google, Android, and a lot of manufacturers were standing patiently at the open door waiting for the right moment. Now – whether they know it or not – Apple just invited them all in to sit at the tablet table and enjoy a delicious meal, courtesy of the iPad.

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