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Google IO 2010 Predictions from Mark Scheel of Digital Construction

This is Mark Scheel from Digital Construction (a software consultancy focused on helping Real Estate industry members succeed) bringing you more on Google IO 2010– Google’s largest developer event of the year, taking place next week.  Last week I told you why you should be excited about this event if you care about business, technology or Real Estate.  This week I will put on my Swami hat, gaze into my crystal ball, and make some predictions.  Fifteen in total!

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Google IO 2010 Predictions

By Mark Scheel of Digital Construction

Last week I told you that Steve Jobs was the new Bill Gates, and Bill Gates was the new Mother Theresa.  This week I would like to focus on some predictions, that will range from obvious to crazy (unless they turn out to be right).  Next week I will be reporting live from Google IO 2010.

I have fifteen predictions, and one qualification: please keep in mind that if a story comes out in the Wall Street Journal on May 12 suggesting a Verizon-Google tablet that seems to invalidate my big prediction, keep in mind I write this stuff on weekends, so there was no way for me to know.  It might be a head fake!

1 – The gPad (with free wireless Internet access)

You may have heard that Verizon and Sprint have now snubbed Google and will not carry the Nexus One phone.  In fact the only carrier that does carry the HTC made Nexus One is T-Mobile.  There are several possible explanations for this, but I like this one from left field:

(Bear with me, this will take a couple paragraphs)

Google wants to unveil a new tablet device (“gPad”).

They lost first mover advantage to Apple in this category allowing Apple to gain market share amongst early adopters.  Apple’s pioneering efforts net Apple a slide down the experience curve that will allow them to sell iPads cheaper, as their fixed cost investments are amortized over more devices.  It’s not always bad to be second to the party, though.  Giving a competitor first mover advantage can be strategic, as Apple had to incur first-mover costs in educating the market, and took on the risk of a flop.

But the flop did not happen and now Google needs to get in this game, like they needed to get into smart phones (and excelled).

How does Google steal back the lost market share?  Imagine this gimmick – Buy a $400 gPad and you get unlimited data access on the T-Mobile network. Browse to your hearts content and see a couple ads along the way, but the data access is all free.  T-Mobile already does some interesting things related to data, including European style billing, so they are adventurous.  The numbers are reasonable.  It might just work.

If Google and T-Mobile partner the gPad will sell like hotcakes and very quickly pass Apple in market share.  Did you know Google  passed the iPhone in smart phone market share this week?  So, a prediction that in 2012 Google will have more tablet users than Apple is not crazy, though at the moment it is Apple 100% – Google 0% (ignoring the Archos).

So lets get back to those snubs.  Why did Sprint and Verizon snub Google?  They found out that T-Mobile and Google are in league on this tablet data service thing.  It’s not that crazy.  Apple is exclusive with AT&TAmazon (Kindle) was exclusive with Sprint-Nextel although the Kindle 2 uses AT&T.  That leaves Verizon, who doesn’t need anyone, and T-Mobile, who really, really does.  It seems natural to me that Google would seek out a corporate partner in the wireless space, and T-Mobile makes sense since they are already cozy with Google (see Nexus one stuff above).

An aside for the marketing contingent.  I absolutely love T-Mobile’s tagline, “the service you need at the price you want”, they might as well say “you are cheap, and we suck, lets get together”.  I love the honesty.  They have segmented the market and have positioned themselves perfectly.   They are the limited service brokers of wireless.

And an aside for the geeks–there has been speculation that in part, Jobs rant on Flash was predicated on AT&T not wanting the streaming bandwidth hit of Flash content.  In other words AT&T said to Apple, we’ll give you this sweet 3G data plan for your pad if you give us a) exclusivity and b) no Flash.  So the question is how will T-Mobile handle the extra bandwidth?  I’d say 1) they don’t have to be good (see the marketing tangent) and 2) maybe Adobe and Google have come up with a way to compress/minimize flash network traffic.

More about this gPad.  It will feature a blend of the Chrome OS and Android.  Although it will have storage, it won’t be enough for a movie on a plane ride. A USB port will solve that.  The focus here will be cloud computing.  Store everything in the cloud.  Why not, you are always connected to the Internet for free, right?  It will have ads, even in places we aren’t accustomed to.  Fire up the Settings to change your LCD brightness and you’ll see an ad for light bulbs.  You get the idea.

It will be on sale before Christmas 2010.  I will be shocked if there isn’t a gPad this holiday season.  I don’t know its name yet, but I’ll put some lunch money on something along the lines of a table or desktop metaphor (gTop, gTable?).

The gPad will eventually use awesome technology from BumpTop (neat!), and have a touch interface out of Minority Report.  You will be able to skype with it, and it will come in tiny and iPad size variants.  Please, let it have a physical keyboard!

I think HTC will manufacture it, but Google will encourage everyone to compete.  The gPad will be a commodity, they don’t care if your TV is RCA or Sony as long as you watch it.  They will open source the platform to hardware device manufacturers.

The pitch to developers will be – We are going to have more Tablet users than anyone else in two years, hitch your wagon to us and make some bucks.

14 More Predictions, rapid-fire style

  1. Flash 10.1 on all Android phones, now you can see the Toy Story 3 website on your Android device, while the Apple fanboys are left in the dust.
  2. 50,000 Apps in the Google App Store.  It already happened but they will tout it and thank the developers.  They will thank them by bringing out MGMT,  Modest Mouse or Green Day.  They will use the opportunity to unveil a newer app store that will be consumer (web links for buying) and developer friendly, as well as  a way to store larger apps on devices (SD card).
  3. A Google Bookstore that will compete with Amazon and Apple.  Books can be read on Android devices and the gPad.
  4. New awesome games for Google phones and tablets.  A lot of people think to get a good gaming experience you need an Apple device.  They are going to change this perception.  I see a multiplayer, real time interactive game demonstration.
  5. Frankly I don’t know a lot about Sketchup but since it rhymes with Ketchup I will go out on a limb and say they will promote it and it will be surprising (at least to me since I know nothing about it).  I predict I will be surprised by the obvious Real Estate implications for Sketchup.
  6. Adobe CEO will come on stage and announce a partnership with Google to include a store for Flash developers on Android.  Immediately there will be thousands of Flash games for the Android platform.  Everyone will whisper, that’s why Steve Jobs hates Flash!  I get it now.
  7. Google Charts will change the way CMA’s are presented.  Cloud CMA will say I told you so.
  8. Pinch zoom will start working on most Android devices with an OTA update.
  9. Other companies will have strategic distracting announcements.  An Apple employee will drop a new iPhone from a roller coaster at Disney Land, and HP will unveil their first prototype WebOS tablet.  Amazon will leak news about their new tablet.
  10. Updates to Google Latitude will include the ability to check in at locations, destroying FourSquare.  (Facebook will buy Foursquare in response) Chrome’s ability to do HTML 5 Geolocation will enable gPad users to play along.  Google will become king of the geolocation/social space, but like most overnight successes it will have been a long time coming.
  11. A new advertising network that help developers monetize their applications will be explained.  Google will position itself as the provider of free computing tools as long as you are willing to ignore some unobtrusive ads.
  12. The gPad unveiling will be “televised”.  You will be able to watch it on YouTube.
  13. A major Real Estate brand will unveil a new way for consumers to interact with Real Estate data.
  14. Google will add a Presentation tool to their suite of cloud based office tools.  Like Powerpoint and Keynote, but with more zooming.  Take this one to the bank on a long enough timeline.  It will be awesome to use this tool on a gPad.

Some of these won’t happen at Google IO, and some won’t happen ever.  But if you stay tuned on Vendor Alley, I will be live in San Francisco next week to keep you updated on everything Google IO.  You can guide my reporting by leaving a comment below.

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Remember …

If you can’t make Google IO but want your development team to be up to speed, consider the Digital Construction Google Technology Package.  The one day consulting session for teams of up to 20, will be available June 1, 2010.  The interactive learning experience will focus on Android, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Enterprise Development Trends.

If you contact us and mention Vendor Alley we’ll give you a 20% discount if you book by June 1, 2010.

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  2. Not so fast on the T-Mobile-exclusive gPad: Verizon announced yesterday that they are working with Google on one.

  3. Matt – Thanks for reading! You are right, as I mentioned in my qualification, a story in the May 12 Wall Street Journal makes one of my more outlandish predictions seem unlikely. If you are looking for hot Android news related to T-Mobile check out the genius button feature on their upcoming MyTouch Slide.

    I am still holding out hope for a tablet unveiling at Google IO (with or without an exclusive T-Mobile arrangement), but the odds are long. Check back here next week to see what I uncover.

    Hope all is well,


  4. Charles,

    Thanks! Good catch on the bookstore (my 3rd rapid-fire prediction).

    There is already an Android book reader marketed by Barnes & Noble called the Nook, it is more like the Kindle than an iPad.

    I have a Kindle and its a great form factor for travel and the e-Ink is awesome to read, but I have too many years as a paper reader under my belt to give up on real books. And I think the iPad (or any backlit surface) is a terrible idea for lengthy reading.

    I have yet to meet anyone to use Wave with success. It baffles me. One of my rapid fire predictions that got cut was “Mark remains confused by Wave”. I tried it on a project with three resources in different locales and it wasn’t long before we abandoned it for good old email and more traditional file sharing (like DropBox–now available for Android!).

    Despite these comments, there are plenty of new things I like, and I expect to find and report on some of them at Google IO 2010.

    Stay tuned!

    – Mark

  5. @Mark I just love to read all you geeks tout Android. What everyone should know about Android is this; if you own and know how to operate a soldering iron, then Android is for you.

    In regard to Google surpassing Apple in smart phone market share, that’s baloney. Apple charges for it’s phones, Google is giving them away in “buy one get one free” offers.

    Also, you seriously want a gPad with a physical keyboard? I’ve got news for you Mark, that’s called a lap top.

  6. Greg –

    The iPhone is awesome. No qualms here. A couple responses:

    (1) Android is as user-friendly but more fully featured than the iPhone today. A couple years ago you might have had an argument, and in a couple months you might again. We will have to see what the new version of Android coming at Google I/O is like (“FroYo”, short for Frozen Yogurt–late May) and the new generation of iPhone is like (“4g”, short for 4th Generation–early June).

    Don’t forget that the 1984 Mac and Betamax systems were awesome too–and most would say more awesome than anything competing at the time. But by not scaling with more open systems they were eclipsed by PC’s and VHS. We’ll see how the 2008 iPhone fares over the long haul.

    (2) Apple makes more money selling hardware than Google, you win. Android will have more market share in 2012 (Gartner group predicted this years ago), I win. Interestingly, Symbian (I know, right?) will be top dog in global market share in 2012. It’s a Nokia thing big in Europe.

    (3) I can’t believe they sold a million iPads. You win this round. Thanks for defining “lap top” for me, that’s what that thing is!

    Maybe we should have a face-off in mid June comparing the latest Android and Apple smart phones (Sprint Evo and AT&T iPhone 4g). Would be fun and informative. Challenge presented …

    – Mark

  7. Pingback: Google I/O 2010 Postscript – Prediction Results and more from Mark Scheel of Digital Construction | Vendor Alley

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