The writing has been on the slate for some time now. Roughly this time last year, we reported that Google had wiped all tablet sales off its site. Turns out that was just a bug, but it seemed like an ominous portent of things to come.
Google still went ahead and launched the Pixel Slate late last year, hoping the device would give users a much welcome form factor alternative to its high-end Pixel Book. Ultimately, however, the device felt redundant, and now it seem it will be the last of its kind. The company this week admitted that its hardware team is giving up the tablet ghost.
“For Google’s first-party hardware efforts, we’ll be focusing on Chrome OS laptops and will continue to support Pixel Slate,” the company said in statement sent to the press today, in response to earlier reports.
Some articles have made this a bit unclear so wanted to clarify. And of course we will fully support Pixel Slate for the long-term as well.
— Rick Osterloh (@rosterloh) June 20, 2019
Google SVP Rick Osterloh took to Twitter to further clarify “unclear” articles. “Hey, it’s true…Google’s HARDWARE team will be solely focused on building laptops moving forward,” he wrote, “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).”
Tablets have, of course, proven a tough nut to crack for practically every company that isn’t Apple. Google has taken numerous swings at the space, but never quite found its place in amongst the premium iPad or far cheaper Android/Chromebook alternatives. And while the company once seemed content to treat Nexus/Pixel devices as much as references for its software, it has clearly taken a much more serious approach to its own devices in recent years.
So, goodbye to the Google tablet. For now, at least.