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Google's officially done making its own tablets

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This just in: The Pixel Slate won't get a younger sibling, and Google's future self-made computers will revolve exclusively around the laptop form.




Here's an interesting little nugget of info to chew on: Google's decided to step away from its self-made tablets and focus instead on the laptop form.


To be clear, Google hadn't actually announced any tablet-specific products this year; the last such item that made its way to the market was the Pixel Slate in 2018. But, as I learned today, the company did have two smaller-sized tablets under development — and earlier this week, it decided to drop all work on those devices and make its roadmap revolve entirely around laptops instead.


A couple of clarifying points here: First, none of this has any impact on Pixel phones. Pixel phones and Pixel computers are two different departments, and the roadmap in question is related exclusively to the latter. (The same applies to the various Google Home/Nest products. What we're talking about today has absolutely zero impact on any that stuff.)


And second, when Google talks about a "tablet," it means a device that detaches completely from a keyboard base or doesn't even have a physical keyboard in the first place — not a swiveling two-in-one convertible like the Pixelbook. The Pixelbook, with its attached keyboard and 360-degree hinge, falls under Google's definition of "laptop." Blurred lines, baby.


A Google spokesperson directly confirmed all of these details to me. The news was revealed at an internal company meeting on Wednesday, and Google is currently working to reassign employees who were focused on the abandoned projects onto other areas. Many of them, I'm told, have already shifted over to the laptop side of that same self-made hardware division.

As for the cast-aside tablets, the only details we know for sure are that they were smaller in size, compared to Google's existing products, and that they were standalone slates without keyboards. They weren't even far enough along in their development to have names beyond the codenames used for internal reference. So ultimately, what we're saying here is that Google was working on some stuff that it hadn't discussed publicly, and it's now decided to move away from those projects.


So, yeah: "Unannounced products won't be announced," in other words. Nothing too earth-shattering, I realize. It's noteworthy, though, mostly because of the history here — with reports earlier this year that Google was planning to pivot and "scale back" on its self-made hardware efforts — and because of what the move reveals to us about the future of the company's homemade computers.

As for that future, a Google spokesperson tells me it's quite possible we'll see a new laptop-oriented Pixelbook product before the end of this year. The existing Pixel Slate will continue to be supported and to receive regular software updates all the way through June of 2024, meanwhile, as had initially been promised — nothing's changing there. And the Chrome OS team in general will continue to focus on both laptops and tablets with its software development, as regardless of Google's plans for its own self-made hardware, plenty of other manufacturers still create Chrome OS devices with all types of forms.

The real news, again, is simply that Google is refocusing its own computer-making efforts to laptops — the nondetachable variety, with or without swiveling screens in place — and away from tablets for the foreseeable future.


And now you know.



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This just in: The Pixel Slate won't get a younger sibling, and Google's future self-made computers will revolve exclusively around the laptop form.     Here's an interesting littl

Google Hardware quits the tablet business, again

The problem-plagued Pixel Slate will not be getting a follow-up.

Google and tablets just don't mix. The company tried over and over again to make Android tablets work, peaking with the 2013 Nexus 7 and ending with the Pixel C in 2015.


After a three-year hiatus from the market, Google took a second swing at tablets with Chrome OS and the Pixel Slate. Four months later, we heard Google Hardware's laptop and tablet division was in trouble. Seven months later—in other words, right now—Google's Chrome OS tablets are dead.


Following a report from Computerworld claiming Google cancelled two tablets and was quitting the tablet business, Google Hardware SVP Rick Osterloh confirmed the news on Twitter:



Osterloh later clarified that only tablets would be canceled and that Google is "committed to our many other hardware categories."


The Pixel Slate was not well received for a number of reasons. First, the device was too expensive and too slow. The entry-level Intel Celeron-equipped model, priced at $599 (with 4GB of RAM) and $699 (with 8GB), was a complete disaster. It was so slow and so thoroughly panned in reviews that it was never made readily available by Google, and it was eventually cancelled altogether. That made the first readily-available Pixel Slate the $799 Intel Core M3 model, which was already the price of an iPad Pro but without the iPad Pro's high-end performance. From there, the Pixel Slate price rocketed up to $999 and $1,599 for the faster, more iPad-competitive models.


The second big problem was Chrome OS, which, while it had been around on laptops forever, was just getting off the ground as a reworked tablet OS. It was not really ready for the Pixel Slate launch, with a buggy split-screen implementation, poor performance, and a weird UI that used a full-screen mode in tablet form but allowed normal window operation in laptop mode. There were a host of other quirks and issues, but the bottom line was that Google was charging a premium price for hardware and software that felt more "beta" than "premium."


The Computerworld report that triggered Osterloh's statement says Google cancelled two products, both lacking a keyboard and having a smaller body than the 12.3-inch Pixel Slate.


Osterloh promises Google is still focused on the software part of tablet support, even if it isn't investing in hardware. (Just ask Android tablet users how Google tablet support has worked out for them over the years, though.) Saying the team is "focused on building laptops" should mean a new Pixelbook is on the way—the last version released in 2017. That's potentially exciting news assuming you're still willing to invest in a Google product at this point.




Source: Google Hardware quits the tablet business, again (Ars Technica)

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