updated 11:46 am EDT, Wed June 27, 2012
Google seeks to reclaim Android tablet sector
An Asus executive has reportedly confirmed that the Google Nexus tablet expected to be revealed today will be aimed at competing with Amazon's Kindle Fire more so than Apple's iPad. Speaking with Reuters, the executive, who declined to be named, said the device is a response to the Kindle Fire, which, even as it operates a version of Google's Android platform, draws users away from Google's services. The comments match up well with rumors from earlier this year that Google was looking to roll out a tablet for precisely this purpose.
The executive specifically noted Amazon's use of a forked version of Android as a factor behind Google's decision to release its own tablet. Amazon's tablet directs users to Amazon's retail portal and runs apps from Amazon's Appstore, generally circumventing Google wherever the two companies' services overlap.
The executive's statement comes at the end of what has been a speculative several months. The Nexus tablet appears to have been one of the worst kept secrets in the tech industry, with Google chairman Eric Schmidt having raised the possibility of such a device in December. Since then, there has been a steady trickle of information on the device, including prior confirmations from Asus representatives. Most recently, a leaked training documentis believed to have shown the final appearance of the Nexus 7 tablet.
Google is expected to officially unveil the tablet today, and it will likely serve as the flagship device for Android 4.1, codenamed "Jelly Bean." Previously leaked specs hint at a seven-inch, 768x1280 display and an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex A9 processor. Pricing and launch information are also unclear, though the leaks point to July for retail availability.