Google experienced a technical problem in the matrix during the weekend, where the last traces of the existence of the Android tablet disappeared without a trace. The evidence that there was, once, things like Android tablets has returned since then, but its sudden and silent elimination served to confirm what many expected to happen sooner rather than later. If you ask Google, the tablets are practically dead in the water. Unless, of course, you're talking about Chrome's new line of tablets and 2-in-1 devices.
Over the weekend, Android Police noticed that the Android website had run out of its usual tablet section. Immediately it was considered that it was the drop that would end with the tablet of Android. Google's SVP for Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer, tweeted on Sunday, however, that it was simply a mistake when the website was updated and that everything is fine in the Android world.
Well, not quite. Unless there is still an unresolved error on the website, the only tablets that can be found are Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1 and Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet. All three date from 2015 and, except for SHIELD Tablet K1, none has received any significant updates recently. Taking into account that Google's own store no longer has an Android tablet, you can put two and two together.
Google has never liked tablets if you think about it. He could have accepted the form factor after he gained popularity, but he never planned or was married to the idea. That's pretty evident in how the infamous launch of Honeycomb 3.0 was rushed and how it has not been exactly making changes to the platform, despite the popularity of the iPad. And the few times he did, like the split-screen windows or the Pixel C tablet, he almost felt half-hearted.
That's a pretty strange position to take, since Apple's iPads have made chalkboard (unlike convertibles and 2- in-1s) a common thing. It was not easy for Apple either, but it has always found ways to reinvigorate the market. First it was the iPad Pro and the powerful Pencil and, just this year, a more economical iPad 2018 that was compatible with that same stylus.
Google, however, was not simply turning a blind eye. As a result, he could have been laying the foundations of what could be the only stone that hits all the poor birds. That stone is not called Fuchsia but Chrome OS. Google practically revealed its strategy when, just one day before the announcement of the Apple iPad, it launched the first Chrome OS tablet marketed similarly in schools and students. With its support for Android applications and the upcoming support for Linux virtual machines, Chrome OS is emerging as something more than Android has been in tablets: an all-in-one productivity platform.
That said, Google will still face the same problems experienced by both Android and Chrome OS. While the two combined application stores can bring more options to the table, even their combined strength might not be enough to replace your laptop. It is not a problem for Linux users, of course, but not all software, especially popular ones, run over it.
In short, Android tablets have no future with Google, no matter how much Android fans want them to be otherwise. Google is giving them a bone by making their favorite Android applications available in Chrome OS, but it will not be the same. Chrome OS and Chromebooks are preparing to do what Android tablets have not been able to do in terms of productivity and usability. Therefore, while it might still be running the life support machine, Android tablets are practically dead for Google. Long live the Chrome tablets!