Could Google market its own 7-inch tablet?

Although it's expected to become the second-most-popular tablet after the iPad, the Kindle Fire isn't exactly a poster child for Android tablets—Amazon has gutted the Google software and replaced much of it with internally developed Amazon fare. According to DigiTimes, Google plans to correct that slight by introducing a low-end Android tablet of its own.

We owe this bit of rumor-mongering to "sources from Google's upstream supply chain," who reportedly expect a 7-inch Google tablet to debut in the March-April time frame with a $199 price tag. DigiTimes says Google's Taiwanese arm shot down the rumor when asked, commenting that "the company has never heard about plan of launching own-brand tablet PC."

That denial goes a little too far, of course. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt announced in an interview with an Italian paper last month, "In the next six months we plan to market a tablet of the highest quality." At the time, there was speculation that Schmidt was referring to a premium device much like Google's own Nexus line of phones. In light of the DigiTimes story, though, who knows?

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