Google is expected to unveil its own tablet device at its annual developer conference on Wednesday in an effort to compete with the iPad and Amazon's Kindle Fire device, according to widespread reports.
The device is expected to be a 7in tablet running Android called the Nexus, and has been built in partnership with Asus, with Reuters citing an executive at Asus explaining the rationale behind the expected launch.
"It's targeting Amazon. The Kindle is based on Google's platform but with its own service, so Google has to launch its own service, too," the executive at Asus was quoted as saying.
The device is also likely to come loaded with the next version of Android, Jelly Bean, and widespread rumours claim the device will have a 1.3Ghz quad-core processor and include near-field communication (NFC) capabilities while pricing is expected to be a low $199.
Google launching its own tablet, albeit built by a manufacturing partner, suggests the firm is unhappy with the current sales of Android tablets from the likes of HTC and Samsung and is looking to take closer control of the design, build and pricing of devices on its platform.
Many have cited the inability of Android tablet to compete with the iPad on pricing as a major factor behind Apple's dominance in the market since the launch of its first tablet in 2010.
Ovum analyst Nick Dillon told V3 that Google would have to ensure a differentiated experience from the iPad if it hopes to tempt buyers.
"The iPad had first mover advantage, isn't overly expensive and has a strong brand behind it, so trying to offer a clone is somewhat pointless as Apple will win," he said.
"So, Google will have to either go cheaper or focus on a niche, such as media consumption like the Kindle Fire."
The expected announcement of the device would come in the same month that Microsoft also made its move into the tablet market, unveiling two Surface products designed and built in-house.
"There are definite parallels with Microsoft as the firm obviously doesn't feel it's performing as well in the market as it could and wants a larger piece of the market as it continues to grow," added Dillon.
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