Now it's a Google tablet that will challenge Kindle Fire?

Some now say that it's Google--and not Apple after all--that's working on a tablet to take on Amazon's fast-selling 7-inch Fire. At least, according to one report.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
Is Google gunning for Amazon's Kindle Fire? Amazon

So maybe there's not a rumored Apple iPad in production to challenge the Kindle Fire after all. Maybe the purported Fire fighter is actually a Google tablet.

That's according to DigiTimes, which reported today that sources in Google's upstream supply chain believe the tablet could be positioned to challenge Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire. The sources expect the Android tablet to arrive in the spring at a price below $299 to compete with Amazon.

The report comes a few weeks after Google Chairman Eric Schmidt allegedly told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that the company plans to "market a tablet of the highest quality" in the next six months. It's possible that the newspaper misunderstood or misquoted Schmidt, but Google has refused to clarify his comments.

However, this rumor should be taken with a grain of salt as the Taiwan news site already has a shaky reputation for accuracy; sources have told it three different tablet suspicions in as many weeks.

The tech blog reported in mid December that Apple would "likely" launch a 7.85-inch tablet in the fourth quarter of 2012 to compete with Amazon's Android-based tablet. The site then reported last week that Apple would unveil two 9.7-inch versions later this month at the Macworld|iWorld conference--a report that was largely rebuffed by the many tech observers.