We’ve heard rumors that a tablet developed by Google has been in the works for a while now, and it looks like those rumors are starting to bear fruit. Until now Google has been focused primarily on developing their popular Android operating system, and the tech giant has seemed relatively satisfied simply licensing their platform to hardware developers. Yet with the upcoming Google Tablet we’re set to see Google step up to the plate and take command over hardware development for an Android device as well, a smart move in a market dominated by Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Apple’s iPad, two devices that were created from the ground up with synergistic development of both hardware and software.
If the rumors are to be believed, Google will position their upcoming tablet to compete with the Fire more than the iPad. The Google Tablet is set to be a 7 inch device running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich at an ultra-affordable price of $199. To develop the device Google has partnered up with Asus, a company familiar with the development of high quality, low priced tablet. At CES this year Asus announced their MeMO 370T tablet, a powerful device with an impressive price tag of just $249. While there are other hardware manufacturers cutting their teeth with low-priced tablets, it appears Google has chosen to favour Asus. Right now it looks like the upcoming Google Tablet will run a Tegra 3 processor, a popular and wise choice in today’s market and a strong indicator that Google isn’t looking to sacrifice device quality and operational strength for a lower price tag.
The final bits of rumors swirling around the Google Tablet revolve around the device’s name and release date. Some sources are citing a June 2012 drop (or at the least a June 2012 unveiling) for the anticipated tablet, and the device’s name is expected to be either the Google Play or some extension of Nexus branding. Right now the only truly confirmed piece of information on this device comes from CEO Eric Schmidt himself, who has stated that Google is busy constructing a “tablet of the highest quality.”
The biggest question surrounding this device right now is WHY Google has decided to enter the hardware game. We have two guesses we feel pretty strongly about.
First, Google’s not too happy that the Kindle Fire has become the best-selling Android tablet, especially since the Fire uses a heavily modified version of Android that cuts out a lot of the profits Google earns from licensing the OS.
Second, Google is looking to move into hardware at large, which means we may very well see dedicated Google smartphones in the near future as well.