Evidence of an Android tablet commissioned by Google, Nexus-style, continues to mount – if you’re not particularly picky about how you get your evidence. The latest comes from a series of domain registrations traced back to Google, all of which include the term “Google Play” or some derivation thereof. The scuttlebutt is that this indicates Google’s first-party tablet, currently expected to be a low-cost 7-inch Kindle Fire fighter, could come to market under this name.
Keep in mind there’s no direct evidence of a link behind the registrations and any hardware – aside from rumor and speculation from the likes of hardware providers and pundits, the only real indication that we’ve got is Eric Schmidt’s off-the-cuff remark about Google producing “a tablet of the highest quality” sometime this year. Not that it doesn’t make sense: Google’s used either a new or existing device to show off every new incarnation of Android thus far, and with Ice Cream Sandwich playing double duty as both a smartphone and tablet OS, the Galaxy Nexus seems like only half of the equation.
Here’s the full list of registered websites. Looks a lot like the marketing for a Kindle or Nook, no? Then again, it could just be a media-centric extension of Google Plus.
Component suppliers have been more vocal than anyone about the erstwhile “Google Play”, saying that it’ll pack a 7-inch 720p screen. Production could start as early as next month for a summer debut. Pricing is up in the air, but many are guessing that Google intends to hit the sweet spot of $199, where the bulk of Android tablets are sold – currently running heavily modified versions of Gingerbread. If Google intends to set the standard for tablets as it has for high-end smartphones, consumers like us would surely be grateful. There’s been a rash of tablets like the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and the Toshiba Excite that look good on paper with the notable exception of a price tag.