Update, June 20, 2019 (5:21PM EST): In a series of tweets, Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services, confirmed Google’s decision to move away from tablets.
Osterloh also confirmed the Android and Chrome OS teams are still working on tablet software. Finally, Google will support the Pixel Slate “for the long-term as well.”
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
Original article, June 20, 2019 (3:15PM EST): Google’s computer-making efforts will no longer include tablets, according to Computerworld. Instead, the company plans to double-down on its laptop efforts.
A Google spokesperson didn’t say why the company is done with tablets. However, they confirmed the existence of two smaller-sized tablets previously under development. The two tablets were standalone devices without keyboards, smaller relative to the Pixel Slate and Pixelbook, and only had internal codenames assigned to them.
According to the Google spokesperson, the company is currently reassigning those working on the two unannounced tablets to other projects. Most of them were shifted to Google’s laptop efforts, which the company might continue with a new laptop-oriented Pixelbook later this year.
Google’s decision to move away from tablets will not affect Pixel phones. The teams working on Pixel phones and tablets are two different teams, with the decision only affecting future Pixel computers.
Even with the strategy change, the Chrome OS team will continue to focus on laptops and tablets for the software. Also, the existing Pixel Slate will get regular software updates through June 2024. That means Google’s decision is more hardware-oriented than software.
Google’s move isn’t entirely unprecedented. Back in March, the company reportedly shifted employees away from its tablet and laptop division. At the time, the move came amid alleged roadmap cutbacks, with one source saying Google had “a bunch of stuff in the works” prior to the employee shift.