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Google planning Nexus-style tablet

You didn't really think Google was going to let Amazon hog all the Android tablet glory, did you?

In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sea today, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said that the company planned to sell a tablet "in the next six months" that would be "of the highest quality." Schmidt did not provide any further details of what would set the tablet apart from other previous Android tablets such as the Motorola Xoom or the Amazon Kindle Fire.

ANALYSIS: Android 4.0: A rundown of key features

But Google has a good deal of experience releasing its own devices through its Nexus-branded series of smartphones. The latest such phone, Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, was the first to feature the Android 4.0 operating system, nicknamed "Ice Cream Sandwich." The Galaxy Nexus also features a 4.65-inch HD display screen with edge-to-edge 720p resolution, a 5MP camera that can shoot video at 1080p, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM.

Google released Ice Cream Sandwich this past fall with the hopes of unifying the Android experience on smartphones and tablets alike. Fragmentation among different versions of the Android OS has long been a problem for Android application developers who have complained that they have no way of knowing whether the apps they design will work effectively across multiple platforms.

In addition to providing the same experience for users on both tablets and smartphones, the new operating system came with several new features including a lock screen that can unlock using facial recognition software; Android Beam, a new technology that lets users send contact information, directions, Web pages and more though near-field communications technology by tapping their phones together; and integration with the Google+ social network that lets users host online video chats among their circles of friends.

Since its debut in the fall of 2007, Android has appeared on numerous popular smartphones for several carriers including Verizon's Droid series and Sprint's Evo series. Research released by Gartner last month showed that Android has become by far the top smartphone operating system in the world, accounting for 52.5% of all smartphones sold in the third quarter of 2011. In all, consumers bought around 60.5 million Android smartphones in the third quarter this year, or roughly triple the 20.5 million Android smartphones purchased in the third quarter of 2010.

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