Google Eyes Tablet Market for Android

Google followed Apple into the smartphone market with its Android platform and Nexus One phone, and now it looks like the Internet search giant wants to follow Apple into the tablet market, too. Google has apparently been secretly testing its own iPad-like Android tablet device, and hopes to strike content deals with book and magazine publishers, according to the New York Times.

The Google tablet looks to be a combination portable computer and ebook reader, much like Apple’s new iPad. Additional details about the device, however, are slim at the moment.

It looks like Google isn’t the only company considering bringing iPad-style Android tablets to market. HP is rumored to be working on a smaller version of its Slate multimedia tablet PC.

If Google, HP, and other companies start building Android-based tablet devices that offer compelling features, Apple’s iPad could be facing direct competition soon. If so, consumers will have more choices when they get ready to buy a multimedia tablet — and Apple may have created the new product category they set out to build with the iPad.