Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is “far and away the best positioned company” in the consumer technology world over the next decade or two, according to noted Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. In a report issued to investors today, Munster said he sees Google as the potential leader in two major consumer technology trends that are developing. According to the analyst, those two trends could add up to a combined $565 billion.
Munster said the first major trend he sees developing involves wearable computing devices. He believes Google Glass, which is essentially a pair of glasses with a computer mounted in them, will not only impede the smartphone market as a whole, but also potentially outpace Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s watch-like computer.
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He points out that glasses enable the wearer to be “seamlessly” connected to the device’s features, while a watch is more like a smartphone. According to Munster, Google may begin selling its Glass product as a standalone item, although it could be incorporated in “traditional fashion glasses.”
He believes that either Glass or an operating system licensed to other parties could become “real revenue drivers” for Google within the next five or ten years. Munster said since Google Glass enables “constant connection to the Internet,” it could enable the search giant to deliver “better online advertising” and “see more measurable benefit to its core business.
The other major consumer tech trend Munster highlighted was self-driving cars. “He said they were “once laughed at,” but could become a “massive opportunity” for Google. He also believes that Google is the best positioned company when it comes to the automated technology needed for self-driving cars.
He sees traffic as “one of the top five society problems to solve in the world” and Google as being uniquely positioned in the market because of how much proprietary information the company has collected through Street View and Maps / Places. He said because of all that data, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) “has the best data platform to navigate cars successfully.”
Munster noted that although USA Today reported that Google’s self-driving cars are loaded up with about $150,000 worth of equipment, he believes the company could reduce the price to between $3,000 and $5,000, which would be about 10 to 15 percent of the average price of a car in the U.S. He also believes that while the technology needed for driverless cars could be available “in the next few years,” we likely won’t see self-driving cars until five or ten years.
Munster has increased his price target for shares of Google to $938 per share and maintained his Overweight rating on the stock. Shares of Google are up 1 percent in late morning trading at the NASDAQ.
In related news, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s two co-founders made Forbes’ list of the wealthiest technology moguls. CEO Larry Page ranked 5th on the list of wealthy tech billionaires, while fellow co-founder Sergey Brin ranked just below him. Eric Schmidt ranked 14th in the list of technology billionaires.