Past failures by Google have been in full swing at I / O 2022
Google held its I / O conference earlier this month, and for longtime Google observers the event seemed like a session. Google CEO Sundar Pichai took the stage for his keynote address and conveyed the spirit of Google’s long-dead products. “I hear … something about an Android tablet? A smartwatch?” He seemed to say.
By my estimates, “Resurrection of the Past” accounted for about half of the company’s main ads. In all these cases, Google would be in a much stronger position if it followed a long-term plan and kept it up.
Unfortunately, the company does not have such a top-down direction. Instead, Google is trying to catch up with competitors for most resurrected products after years of standing still. We need to ask a question for each ad: “Will it be different this time?”
Android tablets are back
How long have Android tablets been dead? Some companies, such as Samsung, have never given up on this idea, but the last piece of actual Google tablet equipment was the Pixel C in 2015. The Android tablet interface is missing for a while. The peak of its development reached the initial release of Android 3.0 Honeycomb in 2011, and each subsequent release of Android and the Google app update diluted the tablet’s interface until it disappeared. App developers took Google’s disregard as a sign that they too should stop producing Android tablets, and the ecosystem collapsed.
After the release of Pixel C in 2015, Google withdrew from the tablet market for three years, then released the Pixel Slate Chrome-OS tablet. He then left the tablet market another three years. Now he is back. Will the company’s new plans create another annual miracle like Pixel Slate?
One of the biggest news for tablets from the show was that Google is once again committing to developing apps for tablets. The company has announced that it will add tablet interfaces to more than 20 Google apps, and has shown screenshots for most of them. Tablet versions of Google Play, YouTube, Google Maps, Chrome and a bunch of other heavy versions were presented at the exhibition. Google has even forced some third parties to create apps for Android tablets, including Facebook, Zoom and TikTok. All of this will help make your Android tablet something worth investing in.
Google has also announced a new Pixel Tablet, which is scheduled for release on a very distant date “sometime in 2023.” It’s a widescreen, great-looking tablet, and regular phone programs won’t look on it. I’m thinking, but the Pixel tablet looks cheap. I’m not saying this as minor against the product; I mean, it seems to be aimed at competing more with Amazon Fire tablets than with the iPad.
The product only got a 30-second teaser on Google I / O, but Google has demonstrated what looks like a thicker tablet, which is usually the hallmark of a cheaper device. The only camera on the back looked like a profitable pinhole camera, and the back could even be plastic. If Google wanted to target the iPad, we’d probably see a slimmer design and a bunch of accessories like a pen and keyboard.
Going for a Fire tablet would make sense. These are the most popular (split) Android tablets on the market. Given Google’s immature ecosystem of tablets, it would be easier to win people over with a cheaper product than to charge a premium right out of the gate. It also wouldn’t be new since Nexus 7 line identified cheap tablets for several years until Google lost interest.
The Google presentation was also a great fit rumors that the company’s next “smart display” will be a removable tablet. The last thing the teaser showed was a set of pins that could be for a smart display dock. Google also noted support for the Google Nest smart home camera, which is currently a smart display feature. The docked smart display mode is the same thing Plates of fire do today by giving more credence to the idea that Google wants to compete with Amazon products.
So far, all this work gives the impression that Google is trying to get back what it threw away shortly after the release of Honeycomb. The company already released a tablet-centric Android 12L update in March, but it was much less ambitious than the Honeycomb release. Android 13 will continue to run on tablets.
The rise of sophistication has also changed the market, and for good performance these devices need tablet apps. If people with Android flagship phones suddenly have devices that open into tablets, the tablet app market will be much stronger. Assuming a challenging future does happen, more and more devices will require big-screen app design, even if the standalone Android tablet is fully operational.