Tablets are 'officially' officially dead at Google: The Pixelbook Go isn't a convertible

(Image credit: Android Central)

In June 2019, we heard that Google had scrapped any plans of making tablet devices going forward. Nobody was really surprised; the Pixel Slate showed that Google wasn't really great at making a tablet that people wanted to buy and instead made a model that was big and powerful and as expensive as possible. It was the 13-inch iPad Pro version of Android/Chrome tablets.

It was cool, though. Google wasn't bailing on tablets entirely — it would instead focus on making great convertible or 2-in-1 products like the Pixelbook so Android and Chrome would still be developed on an in-house design that would allow a focus on using software without a keyboard and trackpad. Except, not really: the Pixelbook Go, Google's newest Chromebook, doesn't fold over into any sort of tablet at all.

The Pixelbook Go isn't a lot of things. It has no support for the Pixelbook Pen, no biometric options, and is as expensive as other products from companies like ASUS or HP that offer both. It was clearly designed to be light and portable and cute with its round corners and ribbed lower deck. And that's great! Some company needs to make a Chromebook just like that and there are plenty of people who want a Chromebook just like that. But the omission of any sort of 180-degree hinge is a little puzzling since the original Pixelbook and almost every other Chromebook under the sun has one.

If you want a tablet that runs Android apps buy a Tab S6 and cherish it forever.

So it's not like you can't buy a Chrome tablet that runs your favorite Android apps. In fact, if that's what you were looking for there are a lot better options than anything to come from Google recently. The problem is on the development side of things.

Maybe Google plans to sell the original Pixelbook or the Pixel Slate forever (it doesn't). Maybe Google can just "wing it" when trying to optimize Android and Chrome for a more tabletized experience (it can't). Maybe Samsung can carry the torch and do all the work that Google should be doing (no thanks). Or maybe it's finally time to break down and buy an iPad if you really want a tablet since Google has cried uncle.

If you're dead set on buying a tablet and want to stay with Android, buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. It will last you for a good few years and then you can reassess the landscape.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Like alot of stuff officially dead with Google like VR, no pixel watch a very underwhelming Pixel 4 unveil maybe it's just me but at the moment I'm just not feeling it with Google and to be quite honest it's just as well Samsung are flying the flag for Android otherwise I'd be on the dark side with Apple.
  • I feel the same way. Google has lost their mojo. No different than Apple now, and in some cases charging even more.
  • Little wonder why way too many Android apps don't scale well on a tablet. Furthermore, Android apps on Chromebooks is also an inconsistent mess. I have seen little evidence that Google even takes Android apps on Chromebooks seriously. If they did, then they would be turning the heat up in developers to better integrate tablet/Chromebook form factor functionality in their Android apps.
  • Lol with how soon Google throws things to the wayside, it is not surprising tablets/android apps on chrome are the hot mess that they are. If Google would keep any type of committment, maybe devs would get behind more things. No point wasting time and $$ when Google might axe it in a year or two. 
  • It's funny. I owned an Android Wear watch, the OG Asus ZenWatch, because I thought Google would know what to do with the platform on a watch. My watch just stopped charging, so I waited for Google themselves to make one before I bought another one. The fact that Google, still some 4 years after I bought the watch, still hasn't made an Android Wear watch themselves even after they bought all this tech from Fossil is puzzling. This is the reason why I bought the Galaxy Watch (even though I didn't now anything about Tizen) , when I got my Note 10+.I've never understood why the owner and proprietor of the platform is seemingly so slow to the dance. Tablets are another product that is being done well by others not named Google. Google has innovated to a great degree, but in other examples, Samsumg, OnePlus and other OEMs are doing Google better than Google themselves.
  • This is just academic information at this point, I'm sure, but I still wear the OG Zenwatch, and if you want it to keep charging, you have to clean the charging interface with alcohol. It's a fossil, I know. I only use it for turn by turn direction notifications, step tracking, and to authenticate Google's 2 factor when my phone is charging.
  • Same challenge Microsoft faced. Moving from one screen size to another is a challenge. More focused is better. Microsoft created and has won the 2 in 1 market, tablets belong to Apple and Chromebooks are best as laptops
  • As someone who has had 4 Chromebooks and a Pixel Slate, (3 Asus and a Samsung Pro) and Moto, Sammy, and Pixel phones for the life of me I don't understand why Google cannot just blow away the competition every year with Phones, Chromebooks and Tablets. The have some of the brightest engineers I have ever seen. I have experience working with an Alphabet company that has lots of sensors and wheels. I see them doing amazing things with software and hardware. From what I have seen there are too many committees that meet endlessly over the smallest issues. Google should own the cutting edge on phones etc. But all I see is mediocrity. Its almost like they are bored with Android hardware and just go through the motions. Wake up and make something amazing.