Google is planning to trump Microsoft and Amazon by launching its own low-cost, branded tablet computer on Wednesday.
The machines will run the latest version of the Android operating system and will feature a 7in display. Called the Nexus 7, it will be based on Nvidia's Kai system-on-a-chip platform, featuring a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset, based on the ARM Cortex-A9 running at 1.3GHz, and a GeForce 12-core graphics co-processor.
The 7in screen will offer a resolution of 1280×800, and the device will also have a built-in 1.2-megapixel camera and a battery capable of going nine hours between charges.
The devices will include 1GB of memory and either 8GB of internal storage for $199 or 16GB for $249 – most probably retailing for £199 and £249 in the UK. The devices will also have a near-field communication chip to run both Google Wallet and Android Beam electronic wallets.
However, the Nexus 7 will be Wi-Fi only – there will not be any 3G versions – and there may not be the option of plugging in extra storage either, with Google expecting users to store their data "in the cloud".
Unlike the Microsoft Surface, which is based on Windows 8, the Google devices will be available worldwide from July. Acer, Asus and others are also planning imminent launches of Android-based devices based on the Kai platform, while HTC has already released quad-core microprocessor smartphones based on Kai.
Google's tablet will not be the cheapest Android device on the market. Ebuyer, for example, offers a number of sub-£100 tablets, with some popular 10in-display models for around £180. However, it is the first to offer quad-core power at such a low price.