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Search giant to unveil tablet at Google I/O 2012: Watch it live

Update: Google unveils Nexus 7 -- the Jelly Bean powered tablet

Google is expected to unveil a small, Google-branded tablet at the company's developer I/O event on Wednesday at 9:30a.m. PST -- and you can watch the keynote event live right here.

If speculation about the long-rumored device pans out, the Google tablet is likely be seen more of a threat to Amazon.com's Kindle Fire than Apple's top-selling iPad. More details should emerge Wednesday during the opening speech of a three-day conference in San Francisco for computer programmers.

Like the Kindle Fire, the Google tablet is believed to have a 7-inch screen, measured diagonally -- smaller than the iPad's nearly 10-inch display. If it's the smaller size, Google's tablet probably would be in the same price range as the Kindle Fire, which sells for $199.

A Google expansion into the tablet market would bring another imposing entrant into what is already a battle of tech heavyweights. Last week, Microsoft announced its own tablet, Surface. Expected to go on sale this fall, it will run on a revamped version of Windows and compete directly with the iPad.

Google hasn't revealed who will be delivering Wednesday's news. It won't be CEO Larry Page. The company revealed last week that Page recently lost his voice because of an unspecified health problem. The condition isn't serious enough prevent him from carrying out his duties as CEO.

The new tablet is expected to be called the Nexus Seven, a reference to a line of smartphones that Google developed to run on its Android software for mobile phones. 

Google's new tablet is expected to be the first to run on the next version of Android, known as Jelly Bean. The new features in the upgraded system are expected to be previewed during the conference.

Analysts are also speculating Google that will introduce another long-rumored product, a home-entertainment system for streaming music.

Google also could provide a glimpse at a pair of Internet-connected glasses that it eventually hopes to market as a way to continuously filter and share life through the Web.