Google is done making tablets! The company has confirmed that it has dropped all plans of developing and releasing any tablet in the foreseeable future. Instead, it will focus on laptops and other devices running Chrome OS.
Google’s initial tablet efforts with its Nexus lineup did not really meet with much success. The Nexus 7 with its 7-inch form factor did do well but it was more of a surprise hit. After the disastrous start with Android tablets, Google launched the Pixel Slate running Chrome OS in 2018. However, even the Slate offered a horrible user experience and performance and failed to attract consumers. Heck, it went on sale seven months after initially being announced.
No wonder then that Google has decided to drop plans of launching any kind of tablet in the foreseeable future. The company was working on two small tablets but decided to change its roadmap in an internal company meeting held on Wednesday. The company will now reassign employees working on the abandoned project to other projects.
Hey, it's true…Google's HARDWARE team will be solely focused on building laptops moving forward, but make no mistake, Android & Chrome OS teams are 100% committed for the long-run on working with our partners on tablets for all segments of the market (consumer, enterprise, edu)
— Rick Osterloh (@rosterloh) June 20, 2019
This does not mean that Android and Chrome OS tablets themselves are dead. While you will have a hard time finding Android tablets in the market, Google will continue to support OEMs who are interested in launching Android and ChromeOS tablets. Samsung is the only major OEM which continues to launch meaningful Android tablets from time to time, though it has not really met with major success with them.
Google might be giving up on the tablet form factor but it will continue to work on other hardware products including Chromebooks and other ChromeOS-powered hybrid laptops. The company will focus more on laptop-like devices going forward which means we might see a Pixelbook successor this year or the next.
It is ironic to see Google struggling in the tablet market while Apple continues to absolutely dominate it with its diverse iPad lineup. Google was first to the market with an Android tablet but it failed to develop the OS and the ecosystem around it as needed. Its second tryst with tablets in the form of the Pixel Slate was even worse. The product never delivered acceptable performance and went on sale almost seven months after it was first announced.