Thanksgiving here in the States is over and everybody is hitting the local gym to try to work off the turkey. Black Friday was a mess, as always, but that is the official green flag for the holiday season. For the next thirty days or so, we will keep our stomachs and shopping carts (physical and electronic) full, and our wallets empty.
When I think of a company that has their hand in almost every cookie jar on the counter, I think of Google. This is the first year that they have been a dominating factor in the mobile world, and there is one cookie jar out of reach, the mother of all cookie jars, the snickerdoodle jar.
Android is all the buzz this year, and among other things, is known for its application market and the real competition it brings to Apple's platform. While it isn't as refined or as large as Apple's App Store, it poses a real threat. However, Google has missed the mark when it comes to applications, specifically during the holiday season and ways to gift. With devices like an iPod Touch, Nintendo DS, or other devices with games and media, it's easy to gift games and add-ons for them. Even with a Kindle, you can gift books to other users.
When Apple's App Store was launched, iTunes gift cards already existed. Gifting apps to an iOS user was never an issue. As for Android, if you want to gift an application to somebody, it's not so easy. Sure, you could give someone a VISA gift card, or hand them some cash and tell them what it is for, but what are the chances that it will get spent on an application? Slim to none. Odds are, that money will be spent on a case for the phone, food, or pretty much anything but an application for their phone.
With Apple's iTunes gift cards, the person using it is constrained to buying either music, movies, or applications, fueling money into Apple's and developers' already fat wallets. Google, on the other hand, will continue to sell about the same applications year-round, with little to no increase over the holiday season. Google is missing a huge opportunity here. I know if someone gave me an iTunes gift card, I would fill my iPad with all of those games I didn't want to spend my own money on. The same goes for my Android devices. With Android OS taking over the handset world, aiming to take over the tablet realm, and pretty much anything else mobile or portable, Google can't afford not to offer gift cards for their Market.