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June 3, 2018

The Disappearing Android Tablet

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

Back in January, I wondered what happened to the Android tablets. I wanted a new one, but the offerings were (and continue to be) quite thin. I settled upon the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, and I’m not disappointed with it, but it’s still the newest offering at over a year old. What’s going on?

Now an answer comes, subtly, from Google itself: Gone from the Google Play web site is any mention of Android Tablets as a device category. Android Police offers this article, Google unceremoniously removes the tablet section from official Android website.

It’s odd that Google would give up on Android tablets. Here’s what I know:

• Unlike Apple’s iOS, Android never truly offered any help for developers designing apps to run on tablets. If you’ve used an Android tablet, you’re familiar with this issue: You open a game or other app and it forces portrait orientation and fills the screen in an awkward manner. They app may not look right. Or the app doesn’t work because it won’t accept any screen input beyond a given area. These are all signs that Android lacks a proper way for a developer to deploy their app on a tablet.

• Google has been pushing Chrome OS, as evident by the growing number of Chromebook devices. These devices are better than Android tablets because they include the keyboard. Also, Google has slowly been adding the capability to run Android apps on Chrome OS.

• Samsung is the last major player on the field. As I wrote above, their flagship Galaxy Tab S3 is the “current” model and it’s over a year old. I’ve read about new Galaxy Tab devices being tested, but Samsung hasn’t teased about anything in a long time. If they release their folding phone, it may double as an Android tablet due to its unfolded size, but this device remains in rumor-land.

• With phones taking on larger and larger screen formats, the need for a tablet has diminished. I still enjoy the large size for watching movies, reading books, and playing games (especially while traveling), but beyond that my phone is the go-to device. What’s puzzling about this shifting need is that Apple’s iPad devices continue to sell at a heavy clip.

• Indeed, the fact that iPads are still out there and selling well makes the demise of the Android tablet all the more puzzling.

• And the silly wearable devices, Android watches, continue to sell, which will puzzle me eternally.

Google may have something new up its sleeve, something to surprise us all. Such an event would be most pleasant, but seriously unexpected. I’m not counting the days any more as I wait for a new Android tablet. I truly believe it’s a bygone era. Even my publisher combined my two books, Android Phones For Dummies and Android Tablets For Dummies into a single title. It was a wise decision.

4 Comments

  1. I got into Android Tablets late, I bought a cheap Chinese clone running 2.something to use for reading PDF’s in the lab, recently got a better one as part of phone contract which allows me to run my cabel app to Watch Westworld remotely. Outside of this use I prefer a PC. I think there was a big rush for the tech and then as people bought it, they realised it just did what there phone did but made certain thing fractionally easrier like reading. There was no killer app, or use for it.

    Comment by glennp — June 3, 2018 @ 2:12 am

  2. Agreed, Glenn, which makes me wonder how the iPod is doing so well?

    Unless: Because the Appleverse lacks a Chromebook-like device, Apple uses get the iPad/keyboard combination to do effectively what the Chromebook does? I dunno. I’m at a loss.

    Comment by admin — June 3, 2018 @ 7:41 am

  3. The Chromebook never seen one. I only know of my one person who has one, it only gets used to ensure CD’s have some something waiting one the boot track. In the UK it was released with little fan fair. I suspect the iPad is down to education, in the UK the goverment gave them to schools as a way increaseing Computers and computing with out spending very much. I wonder besides Angry Birds if they are used for anything else.

    Comment by glennp — June 3, 2018 @ 7:59 am

  4. Here in the States, they use Chromebooks in the schools. They’re cheaper than laptops (~$200 each for a low-end model) and basically serve to run Chrome and get on the Internet. Google is currently working to port Android apps to the Chromebook, so they too can play Angry Birds.

    Comment by admin — June 3, 2018 @ 8:20 am

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