Google Nexus Offers Little Competition to Apple iPhone

Meanwhile, strong on momentum and flush with cash, Apple isn't waiting around for the world to catch up with it. Two weeks from now, the company is expected to introduce yet another category-buster: this time it's rumored to be a tablet device – think of an oversized iPod Touch, but no doubt with much of the functionality of a personal computer (not to mention all of those iPhone apps). It will also no doubt, have one or two very cool and unexpected new features that will make it a gotta-have for Apple fanatics everywhere. Once again, Apple will have a new product that challenges convention, seemingly obsoletes an entire multibillion-dollar industry (in this case, handheld computers) while overwhelming a second, newer industry (netbooks, such as the Kindle) and yet is still stunning to look at.

In other words, the Google phone will be a loser, even if it is a winner, because it will probably diminish Google's reputation as a tech juggernaut. Meanwhile, the Apple Tablet will be a winner, even if it is a loser, because (like those wacky iMac cubes and other designs of the last decade) it will continue to advance the company's reputation for risk-taking and cool.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us, at least after a miserable 2009 in tech, 2010 is starting out fun. It's as if the great consumer tech companies have been waiting to get last year over with and are now bouncing around at the starting line, waiting for the new year to begin so they can burst out of the gate. Despite everything else, the New Year in tech looks like fun.

TAD'S TAB: Now that Christmas is over, and your children are safe, check out http://www.sketchysantas.com/. It is a hilarious collection of every bad mall Santa who never should have gotten the job. The Web site even offers greeting cards, featuring your favorite sketchy Santa on the front. Happy Holidays.

This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michael S. Malone is one of the nation's best-known technology writers. He has covered Silicon Valley and high-tech for more than 25 years, beginning with the San Jose Mercury News as the nation's first daily high-tech reporter. His articles and editorials have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and Fortune, and for two years he was a columnist for The New York Times. He was editor of Forbes ASAP, the world's largest-circulation business-tech magazine, at the height of the dot-com boom. Malone is the author or co-author of a dozen books, notably the best-selling "Virtual Corporation." Malone has also hosted three public television interview series, and most recently co-produced the celebrated PBS miniseries on social entrepreneurs, "The New Heroes." He has been the ABCNews.com "Silicon Insider" columnist since 2000. His new book, written with Tom Hayes, is "No Size Fits All."

A version of Malone's "Yes, Virginia" column has run every December since 2001.

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