If the $199 Nexus 7 is out of your budget range, a new $149 Hisense clone may be worth a look. HTC may announce a “Google Edition” HTC smartphone and Chrome beta users gain some useful new features.

Small slate shoppers have a new option to choose this week: Hisense debuted a tablet that looks like a Nexus 7. The Sera 7 Pro tablet uses the same basic hardware as Google’s own tablet –with a few improvements, even — but costs $50 less. WalMart is the exclusive retailer for the Android 4.2 slate, which is priced at $149.

Most of the base components are the same between the two tablets: An Nvidia Tegra 3 chip, IPS display with 1280 x 800 resolution, 1 GB of memory, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC.

The Hisense model only comes with half of the storage capacity as the Nexus 7 — 8 GB vs 16 GB — but does include a microSD card slot for storage expansion. Both devices have front facing cameras while the Hisense model adds a rear, 5 megapixel camera. It also supports mini HDMI out for external displays while the Nexus 7 doesn’t.

That same question comes to mind when talking about “Google Edition” phones. Samsung has already announced a $649 version of its Galaxy S 4 that will run stock Android without Samsung’s customizations. Now sources suggest that an HTC One handset will be offered in a “Google Edition” as well. Since Google is selling such devices in the Google Play Store, my guess is that Google itself will push future updates. That hasn’t been made clear, however.

Regardless, many who like the HTC One hardware but don’t like HTC Sense software may have the best of both worlds available soon. We’ll find out this coming week, when HTC is expected to announce an HTC One “Google Edition” smartphone.
More at Gigaom

--jeremy