Google plans to release a tablet in the next six months “of the highest quality” that will take on Apple’s iPad, Google chairman Eric Schmidt told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sea this week.
Schmidt did not elaborate on Google’s tablet plans in the interview. It’s not known, for example, if Google would use the Nexus name it’s used for phones to offer a Google-branded tablet or work with Motorola Mobility, the company it’s in the process of acquiring, to offer the device.
Google has used the Nexus brand to showcase its thinking of what a cutting edge, Android-based smartphone should feature. Google tried to walk a fine line with the original, since-discontinued Nexus and its smartphone partners by not selling the Nexus One through dealers.
“In the next six months we plan to market a tablet of the highest quality,” Schmidt said in a Google translation of the newspaper article. “…in mobile communications, the smartphone market, you will see brutal competition between Apple and Google Android. It is capitalism.”
Presumably, a Google-developed tablet would use Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4), the latest version of the Android software developed specifically for tablets.
As for Apple, Schmidt continued his ongoing praise for the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs despite the fact Jobs blasted Google’s Android in the Steve Jobs biography for what he said was a ripoff of Apple’s technology. The article says Schmidt praised Jobs for his work in transitioning the tablet from vertical and enterprise markets to a consumer-centric product.
“Steve Jobs was the Michelangelo of our time” he told the newspaper, “[he] realized the revolutionary potential of the tablet and has created an amazing product like the iPad.” However, “our companies compete” he continued, “it is capitalism.”
Schmidt seemed to bristle at a question that implied Google had to do more to compete with Apple’s Siri, the voice recognition digital assistant in the new iPhone 4S that’s been featured in the firm’s latest TV ads.
“Your question is a bit strange, given that we have, and for a long time, the best [voice] translation software. We can always use it to do things similar to [Siri]. Of course not talking about future products, not yet announced.”
[The Google translation of Schmidt’s remarks were a bit off target, translating “Siri” to “the Syrians” for example].