Report: Eric Schmidt teases Google slate

What a surprise: Google's rivalry with Apple will apparently extend to slate devices—and we're not just talking about third-party iPad rivals based on the Android platform. According to the New York Times' Bits blog, Google CEO Eric Schmidt shared details about an upcoming Google slate with friends "at a recent party in Los Angeles."

This Google slate will run Android, of course, but Google is officially keeping a tight lid on it for now. Shmidt reportedly said the company "had been experimenting in 'stealth mode' with a few publishers to explore delivery of books, magazines and other content on a tablet." Schmidt also revealed that, unlike the iPad, the mysterious Google device will run Adobe's Flash player.

Flash support in particular would be an interesting trait, since Apple CEO Steve Jobs has dropped strong hints that the iPad will probably never run Flash, and Apple is betting on HTML5 becoming the new online video standard. Google sticking up for Adobe could delay such a transition, although admittedly, the search giant is pursuing HTML5 in its Chrome browser and on YouTube, too.

Schmidt might not be interested in drumming up too much hype, though. Bits quotes the Google CEO as saying, "Google might not get it right the first time," before adding that Apple "probably wouldn't either." Schmidt reportedly expects both his company and Apple will have "the next two to three years to figure it out."

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