Google Hardware is Everywhere, Apple should worry

Google Nexus 7

Google is really flaunting its business dexterity with its recent line of hardware devices.  Images for the Google Nexus 7 were sprouting up all over the web early Wednesday morning hours before Google’s official announcement that it’ll hit the US next Tuesday on July 30th.

Google Nexus 7 Profile

Google partnered with Taiwanese international hardware manufacturer Asus to produce an ultralight, ultrasharp 7″ tablet.  The Nexus actually weighs less than the iPad Mini and has an ultrafine screen resolution of 1,920 by 1,200 pixels.  In other words, Google managed to squeeze 323 pixels into every single inch of the display; that 59 pixels per inch (PPI) more than the third and fourth generation iPads with Retina displays.  In addition to having a sublime picture, the Nexus 7 (0.66 pounds) weighs slightly less than the iPad Mini (0.68 pounds).  It also touts 9 hours of continuous HD video playback and 10 hours of web browsing.

Any guesses on the price?

$229 for starters.  The base model iPad mini costs one hundred dollars more at $329, but that’s not all – Google isn’t done releasing new hardware.  Let me introduce Chromecast.

Google Chromecast Profile

Earlier this week, Google launched Chromecast as an easy solution to bring internet entertainment to your big screen TV. For just $35 dollars you can buy a small USB sized stick which you plug into the HDMI port of your TV.  The Chromecast connects to your Wi-Fi network and let’s you send or better said, “cast” and control online media from your smartphone, tablet or laptop.  It’s so easy, you just use your mobile devices as a remote.

The device is pretty popular and already sold out on Amazon.  Earlier this week I expressed my thoughts on Chromecast, and my option remains unchanged: I think this is a great win for Google and will bring internet TV consumption to the masses.  Honestly, it’s hard to beat that $35 sticker.

And now let’s close with a talk about the big Apple in the room.

What looms on the horizon for the great company that inaugurated an entire suite of iDevices and changed the fundamental way the world communicates?  Google is gaining momentum with the Nexus 7 and Chromecast but keep in mind that Apple has been in the game longer.  Moreover, Apple has a track record for surprising the world by shrouding its newest creations in titillating mystery that increases anticipation.  Apple also has an excellent ecosystem of Apps and interoperability that puts it head and shoulders above the competition.

Yet, despite Apples years of success in creating some of the worlds most coveted products, I wonder if Apple is starting to loose steam.  Ostensibly, Apple has new products in the works such as the iWatch which Bloomberg says is being worked on by a team of almost 100 designers and may introduce a new change wearable machines.  On the one hand, I agree with Peter Burrows and Adam Satariano of Bloomberg who say the device looks promising; however, on the other hand it’s hard to ignore a few quantitative facts.

During the second quarter of this year, Apple’s share of the global market dipped by 36%.  Shipments slowed from 20 million in the first quarter of this year to 15 million in Q2.  Admittedly, that’s still a lot of tablets being shipped but the drop is still precipitous and I think Apple is starting to feel the pressure from pesky Android manufacturers like Samsung.

Ultimately, I think Google is beating Apple.  Google undermines Apple by being cheaper, having a large selection of products and ample media buzz.  With the Google Chromecast and Nexus 7 on the stage, I think, Google has deftly showed the world that it has what it takes to contend with giants.

Apple better watch out.

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