Internet search giant Google is set to turn up the pressure on Apple and Amazon by selling co-branded Android tablets directly to consumers, according to the usual 'people familiar with the matter' cited in a recent report by the Wall Street Journal.
It’s not the first time Google has tried to sell Android devices directly to consumers. In 2010 they tried selling their co-branded HTC built Nexus One smartphone in a similar way, but it decided to close the store after several months due to weak Nexus One sales against other Android handsets on the market at the time.
WSJ’s sources believe Google will take the same route as before, offering for sale select co-branded tablets from partners like Samsung alongside their own manufactured tablets once Motorola is onboard.
Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility is now in the final stages, with Chinese authorities just needing to approve the $12.5bn acquisition. Once complete they will have the means to build their own tablets, and sell them to consumers in direct competition with the online stores of Apple and Amazon.
There is no doubt that Google would like to win back some of the market share from Apple’s dominant iPad tablets. Despite their success with smartphones, Android tablets have struggled to make a significant dent in Apple's top-seller position with the iPad. With new smartphones and tablets shipping with Android's Ice Cream Sandwich OS release, Google will finally provide a consistent experience across both devices, which is expected to help drive further adoption of Android tablets in the coming months.
It’s not clear right now when Google intends to start selling tablets featuring their mobile OS platform, or exactly which models will be offered but more details will no doubt arrive as the store launch gets nearer.