10 Ways Google Just Tried To Thump Apple

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Photo: Google

At Google’s big developer conference it took some subtle and not so subtle shots at its mobile rival, Apple.We re-watched the Android keynote to pluck out some of the best examples of how Google is accelerating its war with Apple.

One thing that jumped out: This year’s word of choice was … well, “choice,” instead of “open.”

Mike Claren, of the Android team said, “If I had to pick one word to explain Android’s phenomenal growth over the last year, that word would be ‘choice.’ Consumers really like choices.”

Obviously, Apple doesn’t offer choice in the mobile world — other than black or white.

This wasn’t the only shot Google took at Apple, continue reading for more …

Google is activating 400,000 devices daily, which is probably better than Apple.

On Apple's earnings it announced that it shipped ~28 million iOS devices last quarter, which averages out to 311,000 devices per day. The pace could have picked up since then, but it's unlikely Apple is shipping more devices on a daily basis than Android is activating.

CAVEATS: An Android activation is not the same as an iOS sale, but we think each activation can be used to measure the amount of new people that are playing with Android devices. And perhaps Apple's iOS sales are stronger this quarter, but it sure looks like the Android platform is smoking the iOS (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad) platform.

Google's traditionally word of choice -- 'open' -- was replaced with a new one -- 'choice.' Standing on stage, Mike Claren said, 'If I had one word to describe Android's success it would be 'choice.' Consumers love 'choice'.'

Obviously, Apple offers two choices. The iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS.

Google is trying to kill its messy fragmentation problem

On Apple's earnings call in October, CEO Steve Jobs said, 'We think Android is becoming very, very fragmented, and more fragmented by the day,' adding, Apple's 'integrated' approach will 'triumph over Google's fragmented approach no matter how many times Google tries to characterise it as open.'

To answer that criticism, Google says its next Android release, called ice cream sandwich, will give developers the 'tools they need' to make sure their apps work across all devices. Android will be one OS that works across all devices, or at least, that's what Google says.

Google is bringing an Android app market to Google TV

Google is adding the Android Market to Google TV. Apple TV, so far, doesn't have an App Store. We imagine one is coming, but until then advantage to Google TV ... sort of. Google TV is still a much more complicated and expensive proposition than Apple TV and an app store isn't going to fix that.

Google added video rentals to match iTunes video rentals

One thing that has been missing from Android was an easy, intuitive video option. Google rectified this with its video rental option. Users can rent movies through Android on tablets, phones, or the web. Then the video is available immediately on all devices. We haven't played with ourselves, but the demo makes it look like it's as easy, or easier than iTunes. The video streams instantly to your device, but if you want to save it for offline viewing, it can download locally.

Google unveiled its web-based music service, the awkwardly named, 'Music Beta'. Apple still doesn't have a web-based music service. So advantage Android, for now. Apple is expected to come out with its own service in a month or so.

During the Music Beta demo, Google proudly showed off its instant playlist maker. You can pick one song that you like and Google will automatically make a playlist that fits with that song.

After the demo of that feature, Googler Paul Joyce called it 'an ingenious' feature. Apple's smart playlist maker is called 'Genius.' Sure seemed like he was taking a passing shot at it.

Suddenly, Google has hardware experts on staff ...

At Google I/O we saw Matt Hershenson and Joe Britt talk about Google's new Android Hardware development kit. Developers can use Android software to make hardware devices. It sounds super geeky, but the potential for cool stuff is unlimited.

However, that's not what should be worrisome to Apple -- or really, Google's hardware partners. Britt and Hershenson worked with Andy Rubin on making hardware at Danger, Rubin's previous mobile venture. These guys could eventually end up making Google phones and tablets to rival the iPhone and iPad.

Project Tungsten is the answer to AirPlay

Google demoed 'Project Tungsten' which allows you to use your Android device to control hardware. One demo of this tech was very similar to Apple's 'AirPlay' feature. You could send music from your Android phone to stand alone speakers.

BONUS: Google pushed deeper into the PC market with Chrome

Google reveled two netbooks running on its web-based operating system, Chrome, as well as a smaller MacMini-like Chromebox.

Chrome is more an attack on Microsoft than Apple, but Apple is also makes an operating system. Gains for the Chrome OS could come at Apple's expense.

Further, the more Google learns with the Chrome OS, the better it makes its Chrome browser, which weakens Safari. And the better Chrome's browser gets, the better Android's browser gets, which also hurts Apple.

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