Google Plans Family of Consumer Devices

By Gary Kim February 24, 2012

Google might be preparing to create and launch a whole family of consumer devices that would compete against Apple products. In some ways, that is only the logical extension of Google's increased profile in the devices business. 

Google's Android operating system is a major global presence in smart phones and tablets, and Google also has built and sold a "hero" Nexus device to illustrate what it believes can be done in the smart phone area using Android. Google has purchased Motorola Mobility and so now is a supplier of mobile devices. 

Google also provides support for a couple of firms building Chromebooks, meaning Google already is partly in the PC business. And Google already has cooperated with a few manufacturers on Google TVs.

Google recently announced it was going to build and market an in-home music entertainment system, as well. 

So a formal "hardware strategy" wouldn't be much of a stretch. On the other hand, the formal hardware strategy, which will find Google competing more directly against a range of Apple products, also means Google will be competing against many other hardware firms, many of them also Google Android licensees. 

Google and Apple seem destined to compete on many fronts, a fact that has been clear for a few years, dating back to the days when Eric Schmidt, then Google CEO, was a member of Apple's board of directors. Schmidt resigned in 2009.

Channel conflict is a perennial risk in the technology business, and given the range of markets Google now operates in, ranging from advertising networks to social networks, search, app stores, video, voice services, office productivity, mobile phones and operating systems, tablets, TVs and music systems, channel conflict is simply a risk Google might feel it cannot always completely avoid. 

Edited by Rich Steeves

Contributing Editor

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