Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has announced that his company will begin marketing a tablet to rival Apple and all others. Said tablet could be ready within the next six months, although any specific details regarding the device were left to the imagination.

In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sea, Schmidt praised the late Steve Jobs, pointing out that he realized the revolutionary potential of the tablet beyond vertical and enterprise markets by bringing it to the consumer level. He even called the iPad an amazing product but of course was quick to remind readers that the two companies are competitors and that Google plans to market a tablet in the next six months "of the highest quality."

What we don't know yet is if the new tablet would be a Google-branded product or if they plan to work with another manufacturer on a rebranded launch. We've seen a few Google-badged smartphones over the years so that route wouldn't be unheard of.

But perhaps the underlying story here could be Google's announcement to buy Motorola's mobility unit back in August for $12.5 billion. Andy Rubin, senior vice president of mobile at Google, stated a few months later that the company had no plans to get into the handset manufacturing business as a result of the planned acquisition, but would those same rules apply to the tablet industry?

Motorola recently dropped two new tablets, the Droid Xyboard 10.1 and 8.2 as a follow-up to the original Xoom early this year, perhaps meaning a Tegra 3 tablet by the middle of next year would be right on track.