Google furthers Nexus tablet, mobile wallet initiatives

by Kristen Nicole

Google’s wrapped a great deal of its mobile future into the Android platform, but maintenance is always the mark of true success. To that end, Google (GOOG) is putting a lot of energy and resources into the tablet market, and may even create its own Nexus Android Honeycomb device. Reports have emerged over the weekend that Google’s working with none other than LG on a Nexus-branded tablet, which would run the prided Honeycomb 3.0 software. If the reports are on target, we can expect Google’s first tablet some time this summer.

Google Nexus: history and future

Google’s had a couple years of trials and tribulations in pushing its own Nexus Android devices, teaming with HTC (2498.TW) for the first Nexus One, which has since been retired. Moving along to Samsung (005930.KS), Google released the Nexus S, demonstrating the prowess of its Android platform.  The third manufacturer partnership for a Nexus device could prove worthy for the tablet market, which is gaining steam and has ample opportunity for Android’s growing presence.

LG is also working on its own Android tablet, called the G-Slate. Available from T-Mobile, the G-Slate is priced right at $529, and runs a dual-core 1GHz processor. With an 8.9-inch screen, 3D capabilities and front and back 5-megapixel cameras, LG’s tablet will also operate on Honeycomb 3.0, leveraging Google’s tablet-specific platform.

Google to team with MasterCard, Citigroup?

While tablets have become a huge product market for 2011, mobile payments are also in rapid development mode. Google’s already made its NFC goals clear, but the company may also be teaming with MasterCard (MC) and Citigroup (C) for mobile payments services. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Google will allow people with debit and credit cards from the two participating financial companies to turn on an app and pay for items directly from their smartphones.

It’s a rather direct aim at the mobile wallet concept, extending consumer reach for MasterCard and Citigroup, while validating cardless payment options for end consumers. Should the report come to fruition, it would also be a good tie-in for Google’s existing NFC intentions.