Google to announce Nexus 7 branded Android tablet at Google I/O

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Google will announce a 7-inch Android tablet under its own name at the Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco's Moscone Center on June 27. The announcement of what is expected to be called the Nexus 7 is scheduled for the 9:30 a.m. PDT keynote speech. The new Google-branded tablet is reportedly being built by Asus and will run Android 4.1 (aka Jelly Bean). The base price for the Nexus 7 is expected to be less than $200, and will likely compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire.

The Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Kindle Fire is the only really hot-selling Android-based tablet in the marketplace, and Amazon replaced the standard Android interface with one of its own, and replaced Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Play with its own app store.

Acer, meanwhile, already sells a Windows 7 tablet of its own and is working on a Windows 8 tablet. Acer's Eee Pad Transformer, which includes a detachable keyboard, runs Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb).

According to information released on the TechnoBuffalo blog, the new Google tablet will include Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 chip, and may be based on the company's Project Kai platform. Tidbits about the new tablet have come from other sources with knowledge of Google's announcement. The new tablet will have a display resolution of 1280 x 800, a camera, near-field communication and either 8 or 16 gigabytes of internal storage. The Nexus 7 will be a Wi-Fi-only device.

The primary specifications are much like the Amazon Kindle Fire, and the Google device will likely offer a variety of e-reader software choices, including Amazon's Kindle for Android.

Speculation is swirling around the Google I/O conference far beyond the Nexus tablet. The announcement of Android 4.1 and the Nexus 7 are pretty much sure things, but what remains is intriguing. One rumor making the rounds is that Google will introduce a voice-operated digital assistant that would compete with Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) Siri. Another is that Google may start issuing Android updates directly to users, bypassing the carriers that sell Android phones.

Direct distribution of Android updates would eliminate or reduce one of Android's most persistent problems--the failure of carriers to provide updates, which contributes to the fragmentation that's plaguing Android. There's also speculation that Google will release a new cloud computing service to compete with Amazon's EC2.

Google's tablet announcement will follow a flurry of tablet announcements, including Microsoft's Surface and Apple's announcement of iOS 6 and Siri for the iPad.

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