Google Takes Aim At Low-end Tablet Market

IT Management

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The release of Google's first quarter earnings report brought a lot of interesting news.The company announced a dividend and stock split. Also, Google's first quarter revenue was $10.65 billion, up 24% over the first quarter of 2011. While cost-per-click was down 12% over the first quarter of 2011 and 6% over the previous quarter, CEO Larry Page said that he was "very bullish" on the matter, and that he expected CPCs to improve over time.

During the question-and-answer section of yesterday's earnings call - which Seeking Alpha has helpfully transcribed - Page fielded some questions about Google's plans for the Android tablet market. In December Eric Schmidt gave hints of a Google tablet that would compete with the iPad. Subsequent rumors, however, have suggested that this Google-branded tablet would instead be aimed at the Kindle Fire and other, similar tablets, rather than as a direct challenge to Apple's iPad hegemony.

Page's remarks yesterday appear to confirm those reports. When asked about Google's long-term strategy with Android tablets, Page talked mostly about "lower-priced tablets that run Android." Though he did not specifically mention the rumored Google tablet or any competing products like the iPad or the Kindle Fire, he did hint that Google would be aiming for the low-end tablet market: "we definitely believe that there's going to be a lot of success at the lower end of the market as well with lower-priced products that will be very significant. And it's definitely an area we think is important and we're quite focused on."

In other words, Google isn't necessarily looking to knock Apple off it's perch atop the tablet market just yet. The iPad currently holds upwards of 60% of the tablet market, with the makers of various Android-based tablets scrabbling for a distant second. Google is smart enough to know that no matter how spectacular their tablet is going to be, it's unlikely to dominate the Android tablet market so thoroughly as to present a real challenge to the iPad for awhile yet.