Google, Asus rumored to release co-branded 7-inch Android tablet in May

Google is supposedly working with Asus on a 7-inch Android tablet that will compete with the Kindle Fire.

Look out Amazon, Google apparently has its sights set on the Kindle Fire. Despite that tablet's use of Google's Android OS (with a heavy makeover), the search giant is apparently working with Asus on a rival slate with the same 7-inch form factor, according to Digitimes. The co-branded tablet could be available as soon as May for $199-$249.

Google has been searching for a hardware co-partner for a tablet, much as it has released Google-branded Nexus phones with Samsung. Digitimes says that HTC wanted too much development control and wasn't interested in a lower-priced offering, while Acer didn't have the in-house development capability to satisfy Google. It decided on Asus because of its product quality and manufacturing capacity, with Asus apparently keen to make a splash in the U.S. tablet market.

The tablet will supposedly be the first to feature the new Google Play Store, though no other specifics about the device were reported. Apple is also rumored to be mulling a smaller iPad, which could further provide competitive pressure on the highly successful Kindle Fire.

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