Google will begin promoting what could be the first official Nexus tablet within the next six months, according to chairman Eric Schmidt, the latest stage in the "brutal competition" between it and Apple. "In the next six months we plan to market a tablet of the highest quality" Schmidt told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sea, while also confirming that Google plans to leverage its voice recognition technology to better challenge Apple's Siri.
Schmidt was at pains to praise Apple co-founder Steve Jobs for his work in transitioning the tablet from vertical and enterprise markets to a consumer-centric product. "Steve Jobs was the Michelangelo of our time" he told the newspaper, "[he] realized the revolutionary potential of the tablet and has created an amazing product like the iPad." However, "our companies compete" he continued, "it is capitalism."
Exact details of the upcoming tablet were not revealed, and it's unclear whether the slate will be specifically branded with Google's Nexus nomenclature or be another manufacturer's model that the search giant will champion. A similar strategy was put in place earlier in the year, when Google worked with Motorola to launch the XOOM, the first Honeycomb tablet on the market.
Now, of course, Google is partway through the process of acquiring Motorola Mobility, and could well use its closer ties with the company to develop a true Google Nexus tablet. Whatever the manufacturer, the slate will likely use Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Android; the tablet UI for ICS was discovered accessible in the Galaxy Nexus late last week.
Google has used the Nexus range - so far limited to phones - to help push its interpretation of how the smartphone should evolve. The first model, the HTC-made Nexus One, led the market in processor speed, while its successor, the Samsung-made Nexus S, introduced features like NFC. Most recently, the Galaxy Nexus arrived, the debut device for ICS.
Android tablets have generally struggled to compete with Apple's iPad, and even the HP TouchPad managed to squeeze ahead of Android-based models in 2011 sales thanks to its cut-price discounting. Common criticisms include the somewhat jerky performance of Android 3.x Honeycomb, as well as a shortage of slate-scale apps to suit the larger displays.
[via Notebook Italia]