Yesterday saw the launch of the Google Store, a one-stop online shop for buying Google’s devices and accessories, backed up by an actual high street store in London’s Tottenham Court Road. Should Apple be worried?
Introducing the Google Store
Google is the biggest threat to Apple’s supremacy, with Android devices representing more than treble the market share of Apple devices in Q4 of 2014, but until now it’s lacked a solid answer to Apple’s online store – a unified, streamlined approach to purchase and support of Google’s own-brand products. This is where the shiny new online Google Store (great name, very original) comes in.
The Google Store will stock the entire Nexus range as well as Android Wear-powered smartwatches, Chromecasts and Chromebooks, whilst also offering official accessories for all of the hardware in question; like cases, batteries and keyboards. The store will also stock Nest, the innovative home thermostat, and pack information on stuff like Android Wear as well as upcoming products like the Nexus Player.
The re-launch of Google’s Store signals a change for the search giant. It’s now offering a far greater range of products, covering a wide range of tech. If reports are accurate, the Google Store could soon be offering mobile phone plans too, beginning the US, which will complement the slow and steady rollout of its sought after fibre network (seen as the antithesis of the tyrannical Comcast).
When you factor in the burgeoning Google Play app store and Google Play Music, you get something which is shaping up to be more than a simple competitor to the Apple Store et al – it’s shaping up to be the boss.
A real-life Google store
Google also just opened a real high street store in London, just off the mega-busy Oxford Street and as it happens, a short jaunt from the Recombu offices (so there goes our lunch breaks). The store is actually part of the Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road, and will again sell the full range of Nexus branded devices as well as Chromebooks and other Google tech.
Google has already planned two more stores in Fulham and Essex, and Apple must surely be watching with serious curiosity, if not slight concern. Apple currently dominates when it comes to physical stores, with hundreds of the shops scattered globally, making it easier for potential customers to try out an Apple device and get hands-on help compared with a Nexus phone or tablet. However, if Google quickly expands its high street presence, it could push the Nexus brand into the spotlight and even out the playing field.
Those with Google Cardboard or a similar VR helmet can even visit a virtual recreation of Google’s first brick and mortar store by heading to the Play Store.
Chromebook gets new USB
Google also revealed its plan to streamline charging across its range, releasing a new Chromebook Pixel with a USB Type-C charger, which it claims will become the standard in device charging.
The new system will offer users high-speed data and display connectivity over the same line. Type-C USB will be the standard for all upcoming smartphones, tablets and other hardware, so thankfully you won’t have to carry a bunch of chargers and cables around with you when you’re travelling.