GOOGLE hopes to have an iPad rival on US shelves in time for Christmas, according to industry insiders.
Analysts are already speculating that the device could be free with a lengthy contract with network provider Verizon.
The tablet is likely to be manufactured by mobile phone maker HTC, the firm responsible for the critically-acclaimed Desire smartphone.
The unit, which will connect to the web wirelessly, will run Google’s Chrome web-based operating system.
It will feature a hefty 2GB of Ram and storage space of 32GB, making it a firm contender for Apple’s crown.
Other perks are thought to include bluetooth, a widescreen HD display, video conferencing and wi-fi. It is expected to be powered by Nvidia’s ARM-based Tegra 2 chip-set.
Early indications point to a 26 November launch date for the product.
Google and Apple are already at war in the smartphone market, with both firms vying to become the industry standard operating system in the fastest-growing sphere of consumer electronics.
Both US giants are working on ways to incorporate advertising into their lucrative mobile offerings in a tussle that could shape the way we experience the internet.