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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 29, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Google to make tablets, Amazon planning iPad-sized Fire?

Get ready for even more tablet options this summer.

Google is working with Asian PC makers to produce a Google-branded Android tablet that will be priced at $199 to complete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, according to reports in Taiwan’s DigiTimes and the Wall Street Journal.

The move could add to the downward pressure on the price of Android tablets made by other companies, which are competing with the $199 Fire at one end and the $399 entry-level iPad at the other.

They’ll all be competing with new Windows 8-based tablets expected in fall. Windows 8 tablets are likely to be far more capable than the flood of cheap Android tablets — and cost much more than $199. But perhaps consumers and business users will be willing to pay more for computers that aren’t bound to the advertising, marketing and web-tracking systems of Google and Amazon.

Google’s new device — the Gpad? — is expected to appear in time for the “dads and grads” sales season in early summer. DigiTimes said Asustek is working on a model with a 7-inch diagonal display.

The Journal’s story followed up with a few new details, including word that Google will sell the Google-brand tablets directly from an online store, an approach that didn’t work too well with its Nexus One phone.

DigiTimes is also reporting that Amazon is working on several new Kindle models to go on sale this summer, including an iPad-sized 10.1-inch model that will cost between $249 and $299.

Comments | Topics: Amazon.com, Android, Apple

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