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Google building online shop for Android tablets?

Google is reportedly working on a website to sell Android tablets from the likes of Samsung and Asus directly.

Google could be opening an online shop to sell Android tablets, Engadget writes, citing a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Despite being the author of the wildly popular Android operating system, Google doesn't usually sell things itself, preferring to sit back and watch the likes of Asus, Samsung and Motorola flog tablets that tout its robo-powered operating system.

But perhaps the big G doesn't think those companies are doing a good enough job, as now it looks like Google could open its own online space from which to flog Android tablets.

Samsung and Asus make solid Android tablets -- the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Transformer Prime respectively are among the best in the biz, and Asus is tipped to be building a Google Nexus tablet. But no Android tablet has really blown my socks off, or made a dent in the iPad's phenomenal popularity.

Maybe Google is hoping that selling tablets itself could give Android the boost it needs to succeed in the tablet world. Google does have a great deal of web traffic after all, and has been known to promote its own services on Google.com.

But Google's last stab at selling things didn't go that well. The company tried hawking its first flagship phone -- the Google Nexus One -- through its own online shop, but gave up after just a few months.

At the time, Google conceded the online shop had, "remained a niche channel for early adopters", and admitted that shoppers want "hands-on experience before buying". The fact that UK shoppers were purchasing from Google in the US was another hurdle.

So opening another online shop would be a risky move. But Google has been known to take chances, so perhaps this rumour will become reality.

Would you buy a tablet before you'd had a chance to hold it? And what can Google do to make Android tablets a success? Tell me in the comments or over on our Facebook wall.