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Report: Google planning its own online store to sell its expected tablet

Google will release a tablet this year and sell it through its own online store, similar to the one operated by Apple, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

It’s been known for a while now that Google is planning to enter the tablet market, with Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt saying late last year that a tablet of “the highest quality” was on its way.

The WSJ said that according to people familiar with the matter, Google is planning to sell a number of co-branded tablets through its own online store in a bid to make a dent in the sales of Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The Mountain View company is said to be keen to make a real success of an Android-powered tablet in what is a highly competitive market – though one currently pretty much confined to just two companies.

Google will be hoping to have better luck with its online store than it had with an earlier one it set up two years ago. That was used to sell its Google-branded Nexus One smartphone, but was closed down after just four months.

As for the expected tablets, both Samsung and Asus are being mentioned as Google’s likely collaborators. Recent reports suggested Asus will be the first to bring out a Google-branded device, comprising a 7-inch screen and with a price tag which could be as low as $149. A 7-inch tablet priced at $149? Amazon will certainly be curious to know more.

The WSJ pointed out that any success in the tablet market will result in Google increasing adoption of its Android OS, resulting in more revenue for the company, generated by ads connected with, for example, its search and map services. This would benefit Google significantly as tablet ads are more lucrative than smartphone ones, the report said.

With Apple’s iPad a runaway success, Google will have its work cut out if it wants to be a serious player in the tablet market, though a device with a $149 price point would obviously pose more of a threat to Amazon’s Kindle Fire than Apple’s popular product.