ye olde Nexus One Store circa 2010

The Wall Street Journal today reports that Google is in the process of building an online store to sell tablets running the Android operating system, including some with Google branding. We heard about the ASUS 7-inch Google tablet before, but the WSJ says Samsung may make devices too.

The Internet search company is planning to market and sell tablets directly to consumers through an online store, similar to rivals Apple and Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. The move is an effort to turn around sluggish sales of tablet computers powered by Google’s Android software.Some of the online store’s future tablets are expected to be co-branded with Google’s name, said people familiar with the matter. Google won’t make the devices and its existing partners such as Samsung Electronics Co. and ASUSTeK Computer Inc. will be responsible for the hardware. One Android tablet that may be sold in the online store is due to be released later this year by Taiwan-based Asus, said one of these people. Some details about the project remain unclear, including when Google plans to unveil the online store. Google is expected to release the next version of its Android software, called Jelly Bean, in the middle of this year, people familiar with the matter have said.

Google killed its Nexus One mere months after opening it in 2010. However, the company said carriers were crushing its ability to sell the device (tablets often sell without contracts).

Oh, and they expect JellyBean to be announced mid-year (read: Google I/O).