Rumor: Official Google Tablet in the Works, But Why?

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After showing phone makers how it’s done with the Nexus One and Nexus S smartphones, Google may be moving on to a Nexus tablet.

The Google-branded tablet would be manufactured by LG, CrunchGear’s John Biggs reports. However, the rumor says nothing about the hardware or software inside. Presumably, it would run Android 3.0 Honeycomb, the version of Google’s mobile OS designed with tablets in mind.

But I’m a little bit confused, because tablets have none of the burdens that make Google-branded smartphones such a good idea. Android smartphones are often loaded with wireless carrier bloatware — automatically-installed apps and services that can’t be removed — and phone makers like to customize the operating system with their own user interface tweaks. These modifcations slow down the upgrade process, causing many models to be left behind whenever Google releases an Android update. Nexus phones run pure versions of Android, unencumbered by bloatware.

But with tablets, none of these issues apply, or at least they haven’t so far. Motorola’s Xoom runs a pure version of Android 3.0, with no bloatware from Verizon Wireless. Essentially, it offers the same benefits you’d get from a Nexus tablet.

Biggs writes that the Nexus tablet “will be the baseline device against which all other Android tablets will compete and even if you don’t buy it, manufacturers will understand that its in their best interests to copy it.” Of course, it’s hard to weigh the merits of that claim when we know nothing about what the rumored Nexus tablet will entail.

I’m not saying this device won’t exist, and it may very well be a good idea for Google to realize its own vision of what an Android tablet should be. But if you’re thinking of buying a tablet now or in the future, I wouldn’t hold out for this one until we know more about it.