Take any translation with a grain of salt, but if you believe Corriere della Sera's citation of Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, the company will likely launch a Google Nexus-branded tablet based on the new Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" operating system six months from now. Possibly even in time for Google I/O in the last week in June.
Google declined to answer my request for comment, but the only way I can read that is that the company is building and will market a tablet boasting the "pure Google experience" of mobile applications.
That is, as it has done with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Nexus One smartphones, Google will launch a tablet that has mostly just the software Google decides to put on it.
Good for Google, if it's true. The Amazon Kindle Fire is a middling tablet. Oh, it gets the job done, but it's a digital shopping buddy right now, not a viable answer to Apple's iPad.
Despite the emergence of the Samsung Galaxy Tabs and new Motorola Droid Xyboards, there haven't been any "Honeycomb" tablets to really light consumers' fuses to make them go out and buy them.
The early bugginess and continuing paucity of apps hurt Honeycomb. Add those two holes to the fact that the first Honeycomb slates cost more than the entry-level iPads, and it was a sour recipe for OEMs and Google.
Seems only diehard Android fans buy these tablets. They're not selling in the double digits like the iPad. Heck, most aren't even selling 1 million units.
I can vouch for the quality of the Nexus phones, which always usher in the next-generation Android builds. The Galaxy Nexus is an absolute speed demon and has smooth, tasty software functionality thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich.
A Google Nexus tablet won't be the first ICS tablet by any means, but it could be among the best, if not the best.
Here's another interesting question: Who will make the Nexus tablet? Motorola, Samsung, HTC or some other manufacturer? If Google has managed to acquire Motorola by then, it will be an interesting choice.
Does Google risk drawing the ire of partners by picking an Android OEM that serves as its subsidiary? I wonder ...
But I'd imagine owning the company it's contracting to build its flagship tablet could produce manufacturing synergies, or at least a measure of convenience.