Wondering when Google is going to jump into the tablet fray? It may happen later this year, a DisplaySearch analyst told CNET.
The Google-branded tablet will have a 1280x800 resolution 7-inch display, according to Richard Shim, an analyst with DisplaySearch. Production is slated for April. The initial production run is between 1.5 million to 2 million units, according to Shim.
By comparison, the 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire has a 1024x600 display.
However, Shim said it is not clear how Google will market the device. "I don't know how they plan on marketing it. If it's going to be a premium device, or if it's going to be a Kindle Fire type competitor," he said.
Whatever the case, after Google completes the planned acquisition of Motorola, it will instantly gain ownership of three tablets: the original 10.1-inch Xoom, the 10.1-inch Xyboard (aka Xoom 2), and the 8.2-inch Xyboard. Why Google feels it needs to have a 7-inch device too is not clear.
But the relative success of the 7-inch Kindle Fire could be one reason. Amazon shipped 5.3 million Fires in the fourth quarter, according to DisplaySearch's numbers. Though those numbers are only shipments (not sales), a report from Barclays Capital's Anthony DiClemente estimated Kindle Fire sales at five million units. Only Apple's iPad has exceeded that level of sales and shipments in that short of a time period.
And the small-screen tablet market could get crowded very quickly. A smaller iPad is now in the testing stage, according to a Taipei-based research firm as well as other Asia-based sources.
That Apple tablet, if it becomes a real product, likely won't appear until late this year. Presumably giving Google time to test its design before a smaller Apple tablet hits the market.
Google did not respond to a request for comment.