By Brian Womack, Tim Culpan and Ian King - Jun 28, 2012 - Bloomberg
Google Inc. (GOOG) plans to unveil a $199 tablet co-branded with Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc. at its developers conference this week, taking direct aim at Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The 7-inch tablet running Android mobile software will be shown at the Google I/O conference, starting today in San Francisco, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. The device will also showcase new features of Android, according to one person, who said the latest version of the software is named Jellybean.
Google is scouting out new ways to fuel sales of tablets, a market that may almost double this year to 118.9 million units, according to Gartner Inc. Though Android has grabbed more than half of the smartphone market, tablets with the software have won less than half the iPad’s share, and will face new pressure from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), which unveiled its own tablet last week.
“The tablet market is a major challenge for Google at this point,” said Clayton Moran, a Delray Beach, Florida-based analyst at Benchmark Co. “They need to have a competitive product with the iPad.”
David Chang, chief financial officer of Taipei-based Asustek, declined to comment, as did Shari Yoder Doherty, a spokeswoman for Google.
Google shares gained less than 1 percent to $564.68 at yesterday’s close in New York. The stock has fallen 13 percent this year.
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