Google this afternoon confirmed that it abandoned two in-development tablets that would have followed 2018’s Pixel Slate. Hardware head Rick Osterloh reiterated the new sole focus on laptops but also added that the rest of Google is still committed to Chrome OS tablets from partners.
In his capacity as senior vice president of Devices & Services, Osterloh’s purview is solely on hardware. However, he wanted to clarify that Google’s “Android & Chrome OS teams are 100% committed” to tablets from partners.
This reassurance comes as Chrome OS tablets, including the Pixel Slate, are already in use by education and enterprise customers. It’s important for Google to publicly stand by and support this relatively new form factor given that those two markets often buy in bulk, and do not want to be left without updates or uncertain futures.
The company has a history of rebutting rumors related to the future and longevity of its OS platforms. When there were rumors about Android and Chrome OS merging with Andromeda, Hisoshi Lockheimer explicitly stated that “Chrome OS is here to stay.”
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
Chrome OS tablets still play an important role as there is no direct competition to the iPad, especially in education and enterprise. Android tablets are largely cheap and meant for content consumption, while Chromebooks arguably skew to older, more advanced users. Tablets have a place in the market due to their ease of use and friendliness.
Osterloh also cited consumer tablets from partners, however, most today are only available as convertibles with removable keyboards. The experience of using a Chromebook with a touchscreen continues to be great, and will ultimately improve from work on tablets.
The first part of Rick Osterloh’s tweet also reiterated Made by Google being “solely focused on building laptops moving forward.” Meanwhile, the company promised continued support for the Pixel Slate.