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Google Tablet Store To Open Online: WSJ Report

Google Tablet Store

First Posted: 03/29/2012 7:31 pm Updated: 03/30/2012 9:44 am


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc is planning to open an online store to sell tablet PCs directly to consumers, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

The online store would offer tablets made by Samsung Electronics Co and Asustek Computer Inc based on Google's Android software, according to the report, which cited anonymous sources and which Reuters was not able to confirm. Google declined to comment.

Google briefly sold a specially-designed Android smartphone - the Nexus One - directly to consumers in 2010, but closed the store after four months saying it had not lived up to expectations.

Google now relies on retail and carrier partners to sell Android smartphones made by a variety of handset makers and Android has become the world's No.1 smartphone operating system, ahead of iPhone-maker Apple Inc.

But Apple still dominates the market for touch-screen tablet computers with its two-year old iPad. Amazon.com's $199 Kindle Fire tablet is based on open-source Android computer code, but the device features a customized interface that does not use many Google services.

Google may co-brand some of the tablets sold through the store and has considered subsidizing the cost of future tablets to make them more competitive with the Kindle Fire, according to the Journal report. It is unclear when Google plans to open the store.

(Reporting By Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Andre Grenon)

Also on HuffPost:

Take a look at the slideshow to see Google's most experimental projects.
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  • Gmail (2004)

    The now-ubiquitous Gmail -- Google's email product -- was unlike any previous email service when it was introduced <a href="http://googlepress.blogspot.com/2004/04/google-gets-message-launches-gmail.html" target="_hplink">in 2004</a>. It featured way more storage space (1 GB per user), search capability within your email, and conversion view, which groups together all replies to the original message to keep the conversation in a single thread. It also included a built-in chat service. <em>CORRECTION</em>: An earlier version of this slide stated the Gmail was launched in 2007. It was actually launched in 2004.

  • Google Mars (2006)

    Google worked with NASA researchers to create a detailed, digital map of the planet Mars. <a href="http://www.google.com/mars/" target="_hplink">Google Mars</a> works similarly to Google Earth -- except you're navigating around a far-off planet. Users can explore regions, mountains, plains, canyons, craters and other elements.

  • Google Sky (2007)

    <a href="http://www.google.com/sky/" target="_hplink">Google Sky,</a> the outer space version of Google Earth, is a way to explore the sky from your computer or mobile device. Click the Sky button on the Google Earth toolbar and you can see constellations, the moon, the planets, and user guides giving information on each. And, of course, there's a search bar to locate whatever part of the sky you're looking for. If you're unfamiliar, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX9MeF2Au9c&feature=player_embedded#!" target="_hplink">this YouTube video</a> gives a good guide.

  • Google Reader (2007)

    <a href="www.google.com/reader" target="_hplink">Google Reader</a> is a web-based news aggregator. It utilizes RSS feeds and included sharing capability until October, 2011, when this feature was <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2011/10/how-survive-switch-google-reader-google/44069/" target="_hplink">disabled and replaced</a> with a Google+ button.

  • Google Moderator (2008)

    <a href="https://www.google.com/moderator/" target="_hplink">Google Moderator</a> ranks user-submitted questions that come in during an online discussion. It was first created to help moderate the company's tech talks, and was later used by President Barack Obama's team to sift through Americans' questions for the newly elected president. It works like this: Participants can submit questions or ideas, and other participants vote on them. This crowdsourcing technique helps identify the questions and ideas with the most support or interest from the group.

  • Google Body (2010)

    Google Body allowed users to navigate through 3D anatomical models of the human body. Google Body ceased operation in Oct. 2011 -- when Google Labs shut down -- and will relaunch as Zygote Body. <a href="http://www.zygotebody.com/" target="_hplink">Zygote Body</a> will be a searchable, interactive 3D model of human anatomy. Check out this video for a look at the former Google Body.

  • Google Docs (2010)

    <a href="docs.google.com" target="_hplink">Google Docs,</a> a web-based office suite that includes word documents, spreadsheets and other formats, was innovative for a few reasons. One, the documents are accessible from any computer or device. Two, they're collaborative: You can share documents with coworkers or friends and read or edit them simultaneously. The docs also automatically save as you go, protecting the work from browser crashes or other accidents. Google Docs is a combination of two previous company projects: Google Spreadsheets and a web-based processor, Writely. There have been several iterations in the past five years, with the mostly completed version announced in 2010.

  • Google Goggles (2011)

    <a href="http://www.google.com/mobile/goggles/#text" target="_hplink">Google Goggles</a> is on the cutting-edge of visual search. The product enables users to search with images instead of words -- basically you take a picture of something, and Google will recognize it and pull up search results on it. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/07/google-goggles-search-by-_n_382871.html" target="_hplink">See a demonstration here</a>.

  • Google X (2011)

    A November <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/technology/at-google-x-a-top-secret-lab-dreaming-up-the-future.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all" target="_hplink"> <em>New York Times</em> piece</a> gave a glimpse into Google's super-secret "Google X" lab, where the company is dreaming up innovative ideas for the future, like elevator that goes to outer space, driverless cars, and all manner of robots. In January 2012, Google announced an experimental lecture forum called "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/google-unveils-solve-for-_n_1258870.html" target="_hplink">Solve For X</a>," with an aim at solving "moonshot thinking." As Google <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/whats-your-x-amplifying-technology.html" target="_hplink">explained in a blog post</a>, the project will "take on global-scale problems, define radical solutions to those problems, and involve some form of breakthrough technology that could actually make them happen."

  • Chrome Experiments

    <a href="http://www.chromeexperiments.com/" target="_hplink">Chrome Experiments</a> showcases innovative, interactive and generally awesome things being built all over using JavaScript. Some personal favorites: <a href="http://www.chromeexperiments.com/detail/ocean-simulation/?f=" target="_hplink">Ocean Simulation</a> and <a href="http://www.chromeexperiments.com/detail/webgl-globe/" target="_hplink">WebGL Globe</a>.

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Filed by Catharine Smith  |