Google plans to enter the tablet market in April with a self-branded 7-inch slate.

CNET’s Brooke Crothers said Display Search analyst Richard Shim expects 1.5 million to 2 million units with a 1280-by-800-resolution display to enter initial production this spring.

The rumor mill also indicates the Google-branded tablet will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, and it apparently also has Nexus ties. The device will see a $199 price tag to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire that has a 1024-by-600 display…

Google chairperson Eric Schmidt sparked the tablet’s much-circulated speculation last December when he said the search engine-turned advertising business-turned mobile guru laid the groundwork to “market a tablet of the highest quality” in the next six months.

Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility will garner the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company the 10.1-inch Xoom, 10.1-inch Xyboard, and the 8.2-inch Xyboard, so the need for a 7-inch tablet remains hazy.

(Image via Mobile Inquirer.)

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