Having already released its own Nexus One smartphone, and seeing the iPad’s rapturous reception, Google is said to be developing the ‘gPad’ – a touchscreen slate running Android.
Google is set to release more of its own branded hardware, with reports that the search supremo is working on an Android-powered version of the iPad.
Several manufacturers are cooking up Android slates, including premium brands such as Dell (with its Mini 5 ‘Streak’
) and HP’s rumoured ‘half-pint’, which allies Android to a six-inch touchscreen (and it not to be confused with the Windows 7-powered Slate
But in the same way that Google chose to release its own Nexus One
Android smartphone to both complement and compete with the offerings of HTC, Motorola, Samsung and co, the dot-com colossus is already said to have an Android pad in the works.
The gPad: it’s Google meets the iPad (pic courtesy of Gizmodo)
An article in The New York Times
on the post-iPad wave of touchscreen tablets cites no less a figure than Google CEO Eric E. Schmidt as having “told friends at a recent party in Los Angeles about the new device, which would exclusively run the Android operating system.”
“People with direct knowledge of the project – who did not want to be named because they said they were unauthorized to speak publicly about the device – 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”, continues the report.
Google has also toyed with a tablet running its browser-centric Chrome OS but this would mainly be a Web-pad compared to a more fully-featured ‘gPad’ running Android and capable of being optioned up with third-party apps from the Android Market, as well as doubling as an ebook reader.
HTC is tipped as the likely hardware partner for the gPad. The Taiwanese manufacturer already has close ties to Google through its work on Android smartphones, including the HTC-made Nexus One.
HTC had its own Android tablet on the drawing board until late last year, which HTC Australia MD Anthony Petts described to APC as “just one of many concept projects we have at any one time”.
While the tablet market in late 2009 may not have looked bright enough for HTC to enter on its own, the success of the iPad and the backing of Google could see HTC’s prototype dusted off and fast-tracked while there’s still plenty of momentum to spare.