Google is getting ready to enter the Android tablet market with a 7-inch offering, according DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim.
Speaking to CNET, Shim said that the search giant is working on a Google branded tablet that will have a 1280x800 resolution 7-inch display and be powered by Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich.' Shim says the tablet will be priced at around $199 in order for it to be able to compete against the Amazon Kindle Fire. He expects production to start in April and for the initial production run to be between 1.5 - 2 million units.
Shim doesn't know about how Google plans to market the device. "I don't know how they plan on marketing it. If it's going to be a premium device, or if it's going to be a Kindle Fire type competitor," he said.
My immediate question is who will manufacture this tablet? Given Google's ongoing acquisition of Motorola (which has three tablets of its own already - 10.1-inch Xoom, a 10.1-inch Xyboard, and an 8.2-inch Xyboard), that seems logical. But what does a Google-branded Motorola tablet have to offer over a Motorola-branded Motorola tablet? Google might have the flagship Android smartphone with the Nexus, but when it comes to market share, Google is a small player when it comes to hardware.
Shim doesn't speculate as to why Google feels that a 7-inch tablet will be better than what Motorola has to offer. Perhaps it's driven by the rumors that Apple is working on a 'mini' iPad 3, or maybe it's purely a response to Amazon's success with a smaller, cheaper Kindle Fire. It's clear that Apple has the large form-factor tablet market stitched up, and given Motorola's mediocre success with tablets that compete against the iPad, maybe Google feels that there's a space at the smaller form-factor end of market.
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