Google Chrome Tablet Takes on Apple iPad

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and its Chrome tablet are ready for showtime this fall. Meanwhile, rumors swirl about a new 7-inch iPad due soon from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and speculation of a launch date for the Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) tablet contender known as the Blackpad.

It’s starting to look like November 2010 will be the battle of the tablet computers.  If a rumor published by the tech blog DownloadSquad is to be believed, Apple and Research in Motion will have to face their mobile phone nemesis Google on the tablet computer battlefield November 26.  that’s reportedly the day when Google will formally launch its Chrome OS-powered tablet computer.

DownloadSquad’s unnamed source claims that Chinese manufacturer HTC, the same corporation behind Google’s flagship smartphone the Nexus One and the Droid Incredible smartphone, will produce the Chrome OS tablet. Verizon (NYSE: VZ), which already enjoys a fruitful partnership with Google in this mobile phone market, will apparently also subsidize the new Chrome OS tablet. Writer Lee Matthews also speculates that not only will the Chrome OS tablet be markedly cheaper than Apple’s current iPad, but that it will most likely be made available for free to any customer who signs a new Verizon data contract.

No concrete specifications for the device are out there and Download Squad is just trying to piece together the story like other tech sites. But Matthews postulates that Google’s Chrome OS tablet will be based on the NVidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) Tegra 2 platform, the same powerful system-on-a-chip tech that powered Compal’s Android-based tablet prototype seen at last January’s Consumer Electronics Show. It will also feature 2GB of RAM, a 32GB solid-state drive, a webcam, and a 1280 X 720 resolution, multitouch display. Communication tech will include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LTE tech as well as a GPS.

While Google and Verizon have yet to confirm the existence of the Chrome OS tablet, evidence is strong that both the device and the launch window are legitimate. While there have been rumors about powerful Android-based tablets from Toshiba and prototypes from MSI and Compal, a major Google-fueled competitor in the tablet market was announced for the Holiday 2010 season and then quietly cancelled. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) intended to release their Android-based tablet in the exact same window as the rumored Chrome OS tablet. Then, on July 15th, sources said that HP had canceled their plans for the device. It seems very likely that would be contenders for the tablet crown are reassessing plans as Google and Verizon take on the market with an affordable and most likely sleek Chrome OS tablet.

As of this writing, Anthony Agnello did not own a position in any of the stocks named here.

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