Google plans 7-inch tablet with Asus... not Motorola

There are reports that Google has plans to release a 7-inch tablet device as early as May this year, and it has chosen a partner for the venture. But it isn't going to be the hardware company it recently acquired, even if it has tablet expertise and history in the market.

Motorola has been spurned, it seems, for Asus, as Digitimes' sources in Taiwan have indicated that Asustek has won the contract to produce the new, presumably Android-powered, tablet.

The same whistleblowers suggest that the new device will also be aimed at the Amazon Kindle Fire rather than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. They hint that it will be priced around $199-$249 in the US.

Google has apparently been seeking partners for the venture in Taiwan, even considering both HTC and Acer until it plumped for Asus. Digitimes suggests that HTC didn't want to develop a cheaper tablet so as not to "impair its brand image", while Acer doesn't have its own R&D labs.

The co-branded tablet is also rumoured to be the first to feature full Google Play integration - the new name for Android Market.

Should Google enter the cheap Android tablet sector? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...