During Google I/O 2016, one notable subject that the company was silent on was the future of smartphones and tablets in its Nexus line. That was not unexpected despite the Nexus 9 tablet being pulled from the Google Store in late April. With a new report from HTC confirming they have ceased production of the tablet, that means Google currently has no tablet device available for purchase or ostensibly in the pipeline for a future release.
According to HTC, manufacturing of the Nexus 9 was shutdown in accordance with the planned production run for the device and not for any reasons related to demand. The company is still selling units through their own web site after removal from the Google Store, but once current stock is gone, that will be it.
Demand for the Nexus 9 was never really clear. Although the tablet seemed to be a solid device and was well-received, the tablet market has been softening considerably. Interestingly, the Nexus 9 never seemed to achieve the kind of fandom that the Nexus 7 devices gained.
The fact that Google appears to be pulling back from the tablet market at the same time that they are cranking up the ability to run Android apps on ChromeOS devices like Chromebooks could be a sign of where the company is heading. With smartphone screens growing in size and users seemingly expecting greater capabilities from even larger devices, indications are the market may be moving more toward so-called hybrid devices like the Pixel C or competing devices like the iPad Pro or Surface Pro.
Do you think tablets will continue to occupy a space in the computer market?