Google reportedly has a tablet in the works

The list of rivals to Apple's iPad is growing

Add Google to the list of companies trying to develop a rival for the Apple iPad.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt let slip the company's plans for a slate/e-reader at a party of friends, according to a report by the New York Times.

Although the Times found other people, unnamed, who described Google as "experimenting" with an Android-based device as a potential competitor to the iPad, it also noted that Google "is soon expected to begin selling its version of a slate computer."

Whether a Google tablet is imminent or not, the search giant would logically fit into the category of companies large and sophisticated enough to build an iPad rival. One of Google's best qualifying attributes is the Android OS that it sponsored in the Open Handset Alliance.

An array of large companies have either said they will offer tablet devices or are likely to do so in the near future. Nokia Corp. is working with suppliers and designers to come up with one by fall, according to an analyst. And HP is already talking up its Slate device, which is expected to ship by mid-year. Dell Inc. is reportedly developing the Streak, while Lenovo Group has the IdeaPad s10-3.

Also in the mix is the Courier concept from Microsoft. That device, with two screens, was expected to be touted at this year's CES show in January, but was a no-show.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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