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Google CEO Eric Schmidt schmoozed some news about the next business of Apple's they're about to get all up in -- an Android-based tablet competitor for the iPad. As reported in the New York Times :

Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, told friends at a recent party in Los Angeles about the new device, which would exclusively run the Android operating system. People with direct knowledge of the project — who did not want to be named because they said they were unauthorized to speak publicly about the device — said the company had been experimenting in “stealth mode” with a few publishers to explore delivery of books, magazines and other content on a tablet.

Cue gPad jokes in 3Interestingly, Apple's public frenemy number 1 -- and occasional Steve Jobs coffee date -- revealed right there that it won't be running Google's ChromeOS as anticipated, so the cloud-future once again suffers for the local, app-rich present. Given that Apple is closing the functionality gap with iPhone OS 4 (see our complete preview), and Google is closing the usability gap with Android 2.1 and FroYo, its going to a tight race. iPad a head-start, but so did iPhone...

Either way, we can't wait to see what Apple introduces next February so we can see what Google will compete against next September! (We kid! We love the competition!)