Every technology company that competes with Apple has an annual public shindig where new products and projects are unveiled to the public and salivating media representatives. Google’s recent I/O conference is a good example. Apple will do the same next month with WWDC 2016 (the annual developers conference where a few new products are highlighted, including OS X, iOS, watchOS, tvOS et al).
What Google introduced at I/O was interesting.
- Allo – a message app with Google built inside
- Duo – fast mobile video calls
- Daydream – Android powered virtual reality
- Daydream #2 – VR headset motion controller
- Home – Google’s version of Amazon’s Echo
Wait. There’s more.
- Android Instant Apps – a way to try apps before purchase
- Android Apps on Chrome – because Chrome doesn’t do much
- Android Wear 2.0 – because Watch is such a failure
- Android Auto – think of it as Skynet mobile
- Android N – because everyone is using Marshmallow
When will all these new products see the light of day? Soon. That’s Google’s promise. Soon. Some may show up later this year, just as will OS X (which I think should be renamed simple ‘macOS’), iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and other Apple hardware goodies.
No one has proven that virtual reality is a market worth devoting big money to and Google hasn’t had much success making money with hardware. Nexus smartphones and tablets are Chinese partner devices and don’t sell in numbers that compete with Apple or Samsung. The cute little Chromecast is so cheap that it’s more of a hobby than a product that makes money.
Android will get some application friends later in the year because Google’s users need more Google branded products to use.
Contrast that with Apple’s history at WWDC and the expected ship dates. Remember, Apple is notorious for shipping both software and hardware a bit late, but close enough to not raise suspicions. At Apple it’s a tradition. One difference is that Apple makes money by pushing new hardware and software out the door. Google doesn’t make much money on either one, so the incentives for a shipping date are different.
Later this fall Apple will have new versions of OS X and iOS (and all the mini-OS updates) ready to ship because, well, new hardware. Google is somewhat similar to a hardware-oriented Samsung whose product strategy is to throw as many new products as possible up against the public marketing wall to see what sticks.
Google is becoming much the same with new product after product being introduced, hyped, but seldom launched, and many of those that do make it to the public eventually get flushed.
- Google X
- Google Catalogs
- Google Video
- Google Answers
- Google Coupons
- Google Viewer
- Google Checkout
You get the idea, right? That throw it against the wall mentality stands in contrast to most of Apple’s recent products, most of which are tied to hardware (because that’s where the money is). Apple’s had a few recent software failures, too. MobileMe, Ping, and iWeb come to mind.
The main difference is this. Apple’s products make money. Google’s products make news. A user can’t use a press release or a video of what a product might do when it ships. So, Google, it’s time to ship something.
Oh, and while we’re at it, ‘Hey Amazon, tell us how many of those successful technology gadgets you’ve sold. A few real numbers would be nice.’