Thu, Jun 20, 2019

Google is giving up on competing with Apple's iPad as it stops making its own tablets and cancels 2 unreleased devices


Google will no longer pursue making its own tablet devices, Business Insider has learned.

According to a Google spokesperson, the company has halted the production of two unreleased tablet devices and will not come out with a successor to the Pixelbook Slate. Instead, it will shift resources and focus more attention on its Pixelbook laptop line.

This doesn't mean that Chrome OS, Google's operating system for Pixelbook laptops and its most recent tablets, will be going anywhere. The company itself just won't be making tablets that run on that software anymore.

"Chrome OS has grown in popularity across a broad range of form factors, and we'll continue to work with our ecosystem of partners on laptops and tablets. For Google's first-party hardware efforts, we'll be focusing on Chrome OS laptops and will continue to support Pixel Slate," a Google spokesperson told Business Insider on Thursday.

Google employees working on the unreleased (and now discontinued) tablets were told of the news on Wednesday, according to the spokesperson. Many of these employees, the spokesperson said, have been shifted to work on its Pixelbook laptop line, while the rest were moved to "confidential projects."

News of Google foregoing its tablet production comes three months after Business Insider reported that "roadmap cutbacks" had forced dozens on the company's "create" team — which is responsible for its laptop and tablet products — to find new positions. At the time, one person familiar with the matter said the product group had a "bunch of stuff in the works" and that cutting its staff would most likely "pare down the portfolio" of products.

On Thursday, Google confirmed that two of those future products were tablets smaller than the 12.3-inch Pixelbook Slate it had released in October. These tablets were supposed to launch together sometime after 2019, the spokesperson said, but after quality-assurance testing didn't meet the company's standards, it decided to scrap the devices — and its entire tablet lineup.

Indeed, Google has had a history of struggling to produce a tablet that consumers loved. Its first tablet — known as the Pixel C — was launched in 2015 and received less than stellar reviews. The longtime tech reviewer Walt Mossberg said the Pixel C represented "an object lesson in what Google shouldn't do if it pursues home-grown integration of hardware and software." The company launched its Pixel Slate, a tablet that acts like a laptop and meant to compete with Microsoft's Surface Pro and Apple's iPad Pro, to a similarly cold reception.

With the move away from tablets, the company said to expect new Google-made laptops to be announced as early as this year.

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