updated 10:30 am EDT, Mon April 12, 2010
Google, HP may square off against iPad too
Google is in the midst of crafting its own tablet to take on the iPad, a leak late Sunday may have revealed. CEO Eric Schmidt at a recent Los Angeles party purportedly told those gathered that the company is working on an Android tablet. Most of its details weren't mentioned, but it would be both an e-reader and a general computing device. The NYT heard that Google is talking with "a few publishers" for licensing books and periodicals.
It's not known whether or not Google is developing the tablet directly, but its arrangement with HTC for the Nexus One makes it more likely that the hardware is a collaboration with an existing hardware designer than a completely original invention.
Any tablet launch would be controversial for Google, as it would not only stoke the heated battle with Apple even further but risk alienating the company's hardware partners. While the Nexus One hasn't significantly jeopardized Google's relationships due to the large size of the Android ecosystem and the limited sales reach, a tablet would come into a considerably smaller market and could undermine the development of startups like ICD and Notion Ink.
Alongside the Google tablet, the newspaper has also claimed that HP doesn't trust its Windows 7 slate entirely and is making a six-inch Android tablet, nicknamed the "half pint." It's simultaneously alleged that the Microsoft Courier dual-screen tablet might not ship until early 2011.
Credence has also been given to talk of a Nokia tablet, but this may be an e-reader first with apps a secondary priority. Company chief Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo didn't confirm the tablet when asked but admitted that the Booklet 3G has been successful enough to continue research on "converged" devices. A Nokia tablet is more likely to use the Linux-based MeeGo than a regular mobile OS.