Asus are hooking up with Google on a 7′ tab, according to reports.
The Eee Pad maker and Google will create a co-branded tab that may hit “as soon as May” according to DigiTimes.
The mini tab may cost as little as $199 and will fight it out against Amazon 7″ Kindle Fire, also on Android, which has similar price tag.
But it won’t be a cheap understudy to iPad, if Google chief Eric Schmidt is to be believed, confirming in December a “tablet of the highest quality” was coming. However, no other hints on specs or OS was given.
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Asus is well known for its tabs including Prime Transformer and was the first Android carrier to boast 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update recently and will also be the first to run 5.0 Jelly Bean.
Apparently, smartphone darling HTC did not want to produce a budget tab, believing it would “impair its brand image” while Acer lacked R&D capability needed for the project.
This isn’t the first time Android creator Google has hooked up directly with hardware maker on a device.
Last year, it teamed up with Samsung to create Google Nexus flagship, the very first Ice Cream Sandwich OS smartphone.