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Google sees a bright future for Android tablets, expects a wave of 'tablet-first' apps

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ and keyboard cover
(Image credit: Source: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google’s Rich Miner says tablet could soon surpass laptop sales.
  • He also expects a wave of “tablet-first” apps to arrive in the near future.
  • Android 12L is Google’s latest attempt at making Android tablets more competitive against iPads.

Back in October, Google announced Android 12L — an optimized version of Android 12 designed specifically for large screen devices such as tablets and foldables. On the latest episode of The Android Show, Google shared more details about its future plans for large-screen devices.

Google’s CTO of tablets and Android co-founder Rich Miner made a brief appearance on the show to explain the recent growth in popularity of tablets in context of Android and “what’s different with tablets with this time around” (via 9to5Google).

Miner admitted that Google didn’t do enough to make the best Android tablets more appealing to consumers during the early years. While tablet shipments did see strong growth soon after Google launched Android 3.0 Honeycomb in 2011, tablet growth stagnated after a few years and remained that way until 2019.

It was only in 2019 that tablet screens started getting larger and “keyboard attach rates started getting much higher. These improvements led to a rise in tablet shipments globally, and the COVID-19 pandemic also worked as an “accelerant.”

“Tablets started to be much better for things beyond consumption and were being used for creativity and productivity,” said Miner.

He believes there’s going to be a “crossover point” at some point in the near future where tablets would surpass laptop sales. To prepare for the future, Google will encourage developers to develop new tablet-first apps.

“I think there’s going to be another wave of apps here that are thinking tablet first,” Miner added.

The executive also asked developers to see how their apps can take advantage of the additional screen real estate on tablets and look at Google’s new JetPack libraries  introduced with Android 12L.

Babu Mohan
Babu Mohan