According to a report in the New York Times, Google is currently exploring the idea of creating its own version of a slate computer to rival Apple's iPad. Apparently the information was let slip by CEO Eric Schmidt himself at a recent party in Los Angeles, who also described the gadget as "an e-reader that would function like a computer." Few other details have emerged but rumors say Google is already working with publishers to put books and magazines on the forthcoming device.

The choice of Android as the operating system is interesting considering Google has publicly committed to the Chrome OS as the platform of choice for netbooks. That said, Android is already well-developed and offers the kind of functionality that will allow the Google tablet to compete with the features found in the Apple iPad. We already a few others -- including Dell and MSI -- will also rely on Google's increasingly popular mobile platform for their own devices.

The move into the tablet space is reminiscent of the company's recent step into mobile phone design with the Nexus One. It's unclear what features the tablet would include or who would manufacture it, but we know Google is one of the few companies that could seriously rival Apple in this segment, with the host of cloud-based services it already offers and more relaxed approach to app development and approval.