- Google stopped development of tablets, including two unreleased devices and an update to its Pixel Slate, which first released in October. The search giant instead will focus on supporting its Pixelbook line of laptops, Business Insider reported.
- Google will maintain support for Chrome OS, the operating system first released in 2011 to run web applications on its Chromebook laptop, and later to run tablets and Pixelbook laptops. The company will continue to support its Pixel Slate tablets, a spokesperson told Business Insider.
- The company decided to scrap the tablets after quality assurance testing didn't meet its standards. Google employees who had worked on the tablets were either reassigned to focus on Pixelbooks or other confidential projects, per Business Insider.
Google's decision to end development of tablets comes after the company struggled to create a product that gained wide acceptance among consumers and developers. As the tablet market has matured, it is increasingly dominated by a few major players — Apple is by and far the biggest, followed by Samsung — with smaller players dropping out as margins decline and sales slow.
Speculation about Google's commitment to tablets started in March, when Business Insider reported that the company had reassigned employees in its laptop and tablet division to other projects. Google has faced challenges in gaining support from the developer community in making apps for its tablets. Devices like the Pixel Slate, which functions like a tablet and a laptop to rival Microsoft's Surface Pro and Apple's iPad Pro, were poorly reviewed "as confusing at best and frustrating at worst," per Engadget.
The tablet market is forecast to decline steadily, continuing a trend that started as device makers started producing smartphones with bigger, higher-resolution screens that improve video quality and the readability of text. The tablet market, which includes slate tablets that work with a stylus and tablets that detach from a keyboard, is forecast to decline 2.8% a year until 2023, researcher IDC forecast.
Despite the news, Google is still capable of making popular hardware devices. Its low-priced Chromebook laptops dominate the education market, overtaking rivals like Apple and Microsoft. Google expanded its Chromebook user base to 30 million in 2019 from 25 million a year earlier. The company's Google Classroom management tool to help teachers share homework and lesson plans with students has 40 million users, per 9to5Google. By training children to work with its hardware and web-based software, Google is cultivating the next generation of possible customers for its products.