Google will sell co-branded tablets through online stores in an attempt to compete with Apple's iPad, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Working with such partners as Samsung and AsusTek Computer, who will actually manufacture the products to start, eventually Google will reportedly make its own when it completes the acquisition of Motorola Mobility.
You could get caught up in the debates of whether this could be another failed Nexus One, the Android-based smartphone, built by HTC and sold by Google under its own name. Don't. There's a bigger and more important lesson for entrepreneurs: Success comes through failure.
Not a lot of companies hit it out of the park on a first try. Apple? Please. Its designers can go through many variations of a new product only to have to go back to the drawing board. For years, Steve Jobs called Apple TV a hobby. It was only right before his death that he thought they had cracked what would allow the product to become a success. And a big reason that Jobs got pushed out of the company in the 1980s was because the Mac was slow to become a hit.
Rovio? Angry Birds have become a massive brand franchise, but the company was close to bankruptcy in 2009, going from a high of 50 employees to 12, and had developed 51 games before, mostly for other companies. (The iPhone changed the company's possibilities because it could now sell through the App Store, rather than having to negotiate individually with every single mobile carrier.)
Google did have a flop with the Nexus One. The product never caught on, it was more expensive than consumers were used to paying, and the sales and customer service processes were poor. But remember that it didn't stop there. Instead, Google has been systematically trying to bolster its ability to field a winning product. The Nexus S, built by Samsung, was far more popular than the original model.
It's still early to tell how well Google might do. But the company is providing lessons in what to do after failure:
Be smart in how you fail and you, not your critics, will get the last laugh.