Last December, Google’s head honcho Eric Schmidt told an Italian paper that Google plans to launch its own tablet to go head to head with its arch rival Apple. Schmidt said that the tablet will be of “the highest quality.” What made this prospective product launch plan different was that it sidestepped the obvious hype-building anticipation marketing shenanigans other tech companies excel in. This came from Mr Schmidt himself. This was not aimed at building hype. This was a throw down. A tech challenge between two Silicon Valley giants.
However fascinating Schmidt’s pronouncement may have been back in December, many industry observers focused on whether the project was just a “wouldn’t it be nice” solar car type of pipe dream and if not, who would be the manufacturer. Well, it looks like both of these questions have been definitively answered recently when no other than veteran computer maker Asus confirmed that it has entered into a partnership with Google on the tablet project. Moreover, we have a launch date. Somewhat. While Asus said that the device will launch at the end of June, the most logical date would be between June 27 and 29 when Google’s I/O developer conference is held.
Details regarding the tablet are sketchy at this point. According to an anonymous Asus source, the partnership with Google definitely exists but few other details were given. Some industry observers suspect that the machine will be sporting a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip. Other rumored features include a 7-inch display and an affordable range of $150 to $200. This means that the new tablet might be headed for a head on collision with that other Android-powered tablet, Amazon’s Kindle Fire. It is definitely going to be interesting how Apple’s iPad fares against the onslaught of more affordable rivals. How much of a premium would Apple fans continue to pay for brand cachet?