Google Looks To Steal Microsoft's Windows Phone Thunder

Google will host an Android-themed event on October 29--the same day Microsoft plans to launch Windows Phone 8. Likely on tap: New Nexus hardware.
Google distributed invitations to media for an event scheduled to take place the morning of October 29. The tagline on the invitation reads: "The Playground Is Open." It also notes that the event will be Android themed. These are the only clues provided by Google as to what might happen at the event.

Google's timing is certainly interesting (if not infuriating to members of the press). Earlier this month, Microsoft invited media to its own event, also scheduled to take place October 29. The Microsoft event, to occur in San Francisco, will be the official launch for its much-anticipated Windows Phone 8 platform. You can be sure plenty of NYC-based journalists have already booked travel to San Francisco for Microsoft's event.

Google is surely aware of the conflict, and chose its date and event location--New York City--with full knowledge that it would be overlapping with Microsoft. Rather than let Microsoft steal the news on October 29, Google is stepping on the Windows Phone 8 launch. Hard.

[ Microsoft isn't the only company counting on Windows Phone 8 to save its bacon. See Nokia Reports Loss, Desperately Needs Hit Smartphone. ]

What's so important, then, that Google needs to hold an event the same day as Microsoft's? Think Nexus.

The word in Google's invitation that stands out the most is the world "playground." Earlier this year, Google rebranded the Android Market as the Google Play Store. Rather than push simple music and movie apps, its media consumption apps are called Google Play Music, Google Play Movies, Google Play Books, and so on. Everything revolved around the word "play." Google sells not only content and apps in the Google Play Store, but devices as well. You can buy the Galaxy Nexus or Nexus 7 in the Google Play Store, for example.

Google will probably reveal new Nexus hardware at its October 29 event.

The Galaxy Nexus was announced a full year ago. It's time for a new Nexus-named Android smartphone from Google. Speculation in recent weeks suggests that the next Nexus smartphone will be a rebranded version of LG's Optimus G, called the Nexus 4. The Optimus G has an incredible 4.7-inch display and a wickedly fast quad-core processor. The Nexus 4 won't be the only smartphone, though. Images of a Sony-made Nexus X have leaked in recent weeks, suggesting there might be two new Nexus smartphones on deck.

There will be tablets, too. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal ran a report saying Google was prepared to launch a slew of Nexus-branded gear (phones and tablets) by November. Gee, October 29 is pretty close to November, ain't it? There's been lots of speculation about a 32-GB variant of the Nexus 7 tablet, as well as rumors of a Samsung-made Nexus tablet with a 10-inch display.

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