Google is about to launch a Google-branded smartphone that won’t be tied to AT&T, Verizon or any other one wireless carrier. That’s true.
The company has trolled netbook manufacturers to see if they can get one to build a Google-branded netbook. Also true.
But is Google also going to launch a touchscreen tablet-and/or-slate computer anytime soon? My VentureBeat coworkers and I think the speculation is just plain wrong, for the following reasons.
No sources cited, not even anonymous sources. The most high-profile posts about a possible Google tablet have been those at GigaOm and jkOnTheRun. But go read those posts in full, and follow the links. Colin Gibbs at GigaOm links to James Kendrick at jkOnTheRun, which is owned by GigaOm. Kendrick clearly stated that the Google tablet he described at length was his own vision, not something he’d been told is in the works.
Neither author said, “I have word from a contact who has been right before about Google’s plans, and this is going to happen,” as has happened a lot for Apple’s rumored tablet. Both writers said, “It would be really cool if Google + tablet = true.” By that standard, we could launch rumors all day. A Facebook tablet! A Tumblr-phone! Here’s why it would be awesome.
Google’s track record. So far, Google hasn’t leapt to the front of the parade on hardware. Their phone trails Apple by years, and their very-likely Chrome OS netbook will likewise be a late arrival to a fat market. For that matter, they were late on search engines and Web ads, too. Why would they suddenly risk trying to create a new market segment, rather than Googlefying a proven one?
Tablet-size touchscreens are hard. All TechCrunch readers know that Crunchpad tablet founder Mike Arrington was notified at the bottom of an email message that his business partners had cut him out of his role. But remember the top part of the message? It said the Crunchpad’s 12.1-inch touchscreens were still not working right and that there was “no good news” on when they might be ready.
This is what we think we know: Capacitive touchscreens are still hard to build at 11 inches or greater, the size of a tablet rather than a gadget. Resistive touchscreens are easier in theory, but in practice they’re probably too slow. So if Google were to sell a tablet, Google would need several million working, warranty-ready big capacitive touchscreens that weren’t already promised to Apple. When a Taiwanese supplier tells DigiTimes they’re fulfilling the order, then we’ll gladly believe it.
[Image: Geeky Gadgets]