Google I/O starts today: Another tablet rumor and links to our favorite sessions

Google I/O 2012

Today, An Asus executive has told Reuters that Google is working on a small, cheap tablet to rival Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which has risen to become the second most popular tablet outside of the iPad. This is only the latest in many reports that Google will unveil a $200 7-inch “Nexus 7” tablet at Google I/O today (9:30am PT). A Gizmodo rumor even had a picture of the Nexus tablet, which looks plain and black, much like the Fire.

“It’s targeting Amazon. The Kindle is based on Google’s platform but with its own service, so Google has to launch its own service, too,” the executive told Reuters.

Though Google already has its own Google Music store, YouTube video rental service, and Google Play, Amazon won many customers over by integrating its services into the Kindle Fire in an overt, straightforward way. It’s possible that Google is planning to redesign some elements of Android to better promote its own services, as it has done on its website in the last year.

Still, it seems odd that Google is targeting Amazon, which has roughly 4 percent of the tablet market (as of early 2012) when Apple is sitting on 68 percent. Is it that hopeless to take on the iPad directly? Moves like this will continue to give Apple a perceived advantage.

Google I/O 2012 starts today

In any case, we will find out what Google has in store for Android in a couple of hours when Google I/O 2012 kicks off. We believe it will unveil the Nexus tablet and Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean,” though we’re not sure what features or surprises either of those developments will bring. It could be impressive. Microsoft was in a big rush to unveil its Surface tablets last week. This could be the reason.

There are a number of sessions going on today, tomorrow, and Friday. All of them are streamed live on the Google I/O 2012 homepage. Below are some of the sessions that look interesting to us. All times are PT. 

Day 1 (today)

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