Google Planning to Build a 7″ Kindle and iPad Competitor?

GoogleGoogle has their hands in just about everything, or so it seems. So why don’t they have an entry in the tablet hardware market yet (especially given their purchase of Motorola)? It might just happen later this year if the 7″ tablet Google is supposedly developing materializes beyond the rumors stage.

According to CNET, a DisplaySearch analyst indicated that the device appears armed to take specific aim at Amazon’s successful Kindle Fire.

Initial speculation says the device will feature a 1280×800 resolution 7-inch display (while the Kindle Fire only has a 1024×600 display) and should commence production in April for delivery later this year. Richard Shim, an analyst with DisplaySearch, has indicated that the first production run is slated to contain as many as 1.5 – 2 million devices.

Would-be pricing for the device is not yet clear, though it would make sense to expect the costs to be competitive with the Kindle Fire as well. The real advantage could be a full-blown installation of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich available at that USD $199.00 style price-tag, something Amazon can’t claim.

As part of their acquisition, Motorola brings a host of reasonably regarded tablet hardware to the table, including the original 10.1-inch Xoom, the 10.1-inch Xyboard (aka Xoom 2), and the 8.2-inch Xyboard.

It has to concern other manufacturers of tablet hardware when rumblings of Google-produced hardware surface. Given the control Google has over Android, it may make sense for some of these devices to go shopping for a new platform –but what? There may be a real bargain available for somebody willing to swoop in and purchase RIM (assuming they are really for sale), especially with the latest upgrade to the PlayBook operating system allowing it to take advantage of some Android app functionality directly; making it the best of both worlds, perhaps.

The next question of course is whether Apple should be concerned. I don’t think hardware direct from Google would make any appreciable difference to the success of the iPad as there are currently other viable Android contenders that seem to be having virtually no impact thus far.

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