- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 27, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Google is opening a conference by touting the growth of its Android operating software for mobile devices.

Google says there are a million new devices activated daily, up from 400,000 a year ago. Google says there’s particularly fast growth in emerging markets such as Brazil and India.

Google Inc. also introduced an upcoming version of Android, nicknamed Jelly Bean.

During the conference in San Francisco for computer programmers, Google is also expected to unveil a small tablet computer bearing Google’s brand. Like Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire, the Google tablet is believed to have a 7-inch screen, measured diagonally _ smaller than the iPad’s nearly 10-inch display.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

A small tablet computer bearing Google’s brand is expected Wednesday.

If speculation about the long-rumored device pans out, the Google tablet is likely be seen more of a threat to Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire than Apple Inc.’s top-selling iPad. More details should emerge Wednesday during the opening speech of a three-day conference in San Francisco for computer programmers.

Like the Kindle Fire, the Google tablet is believed to have a 7-inch screen, measured diagonally _ smaller than the iPad’s nearly 10-inch display. If it’s the smaller size, Google Inc.’s tablet probably would be in the same price range as the Kindle Fire, which sells for $199.

A Google expansion into the tablet market would bring another imposing entrant into what is already a battle of tech heavyweights. Last week, Microsoft Corp. announced its own tablet, Surface. Expected to go on sale this fall, it will run on a revamped version of Windows and compete directly with the iPad.

Google hasn’t revealed who will be delivering Wednesday’s news. It won’t be CEO Larry Page. The company revealed last week that Page recently lost his voice because of an unspecified health problem. The condition isn’t serious enough prevent him from carrying out his duties as CEO.

Although the tablet is supposed to carry the Google brand and be sold by the company, the machine will be made by AsusTek Computer Inc., according to published reports citing unnamed people familiar the product. Google also recently expanded into the device-making business with its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings, but the company has stressed that it intends to continue to rely on Asus and other manufacturers that have embraced Android.

The new tablet is expected to be called the Nexus Seven, a reference to a line of smartphones that Google developed to run on its Android software for mobile phones. The Nexus phones have been made by a variety of manufacturers, too.

Google originally sold the first Nexus phone two years ago exclusively in an online store, but scrapped that idea after a few months.

There are already other Android-powered tablets on the market, but none have proven nearly as popular as the iPad or Kindle Fire. That has raised worries at Google as more people rely on tablets to surf the Internet.

If Apple and Amazon establish themselves as the dominant tablet makers, they could set up their operating systems in ways that de-emphasize Google’s Internet search engine and other services. Apple develops its own system, while Amazon modifies Android for use in Kindles.

Story Continues →