Report: Google prepping Android tablet for imminent launch

Google is reportedly poised to enter the crowded tablet marketplace with an Android-based e-reader that will “function like a computer.”

According to the New York Times, Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently described the enigmatic device to friends at a “party in Los Angeles.”

Charlie Sorrel of Wired reacted to the report by noting that Android is a “well developed and full-featured” OS capable of taking on Apple’s iPad.

“A Google tablet could be the only tablet capable of actually challenging the iPad, avoiding the iPod whitewash in which Apple thrashed everyone, even Sony. It would also have some advantages. Google’s services, for one,” wrote Sorrel.

“Apple still doesn’t get the cloud, and getting data on and off the iPad is still largely done over a USB cable. Android is also the only other real player in apps with the Android Marketplace. It is way behind the iTunes App Store in numbers, but is at least in second place.”

Meanwhile, Tech Eye, which originally broke the (Google tablet) story on April 9th, noted that the rumored tablet – like the Nexus One – was Google’s way of “dabbling in hardware” to show the industry what it should be aiming for.

“Now, if Google was going the Taiwan route with this, the interwibble would doubtless already be flooded with blue-prints, specs, pictures, and gossip from the likes of the DodgyTimes. It isn’t, so we can only assume Google is searching for partners in more discrete areas of Asia. Korea for instance,” wrote TE’s EyeSpy.

“If we were to get more specific – and again we remind you that what we’ve heard should be taken with a mountain view of salt – we might speculate that Samsung, which has a long history of working with Apple, would be Google’s manufacturing partner choice. Although LG wouldn’t be a bad gamble either.”