Did Google make a mistake giving up on the Pixel Slate?

The Google Pixel Slate was released in 2018 and following some pretty bad reviews; In 2019 Google decided not to continue with the Slate and confirmed two future models would not be released. So why was this and did Google make a mistake giving up on the slate too early?

The Pixel Slate was one of the first tablets to be released on Chrome OS. Until then the Chrome OS had seen success on the Chromebook and not much else. So it was pretty important to get the Slate right.

The Pixel Slate was definitely built to directly compete with the Microsoft Surface Pro and the iPad Pro. Both of these devices are tablets where you can attach a keyboard to make it an all-out laptop computer.

This was exactly the same as the Pixel Slate. A tablet where you could attach a keyboard. Making it very versatile. So let’s take a look at what went wrong and why Google may regret giving up so early.

THE PIXEL SLATE

The Pixel Slate was and still is a fantastically designed tablet. An ultra-thin and lightweight tablet with an absolutely amazing display. This was thanks to the 12.3-inch screen boasting a resolution of 3,000 by 2,000.

All the reviews commented on just how amazing the actual Slate was and the display was one of the most talked-about benefits. It could stand up against the iPad Pro without any issues. Whether that was on build quality or the display.

Also, the keyboard for the Pixel Slate was arguably better than the iPad Pro because it included a trackpad. Whereas the iPad Pro only provided a keyboard and any other gestures had to come from using the touchscreen.

So why was the Pixel Slate such a letdown for Google? Well, this is where the problem was. Chrome OS was just not in the right place for such a fabulous piece of hardware.

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Last updated on June 3, 2020 3:54 pm

CHROME OS AND TABLETS

There is no getting around the fact that Chrome OS was a shockingly poor experience in tablet mode back in 2018. There was hardly any hardware specifically designed to use Chrome OS as a tablet.

Anybody who owned a Chromebook with 2-in-1 functionality would have seen themselves that Chrome OS in tablet mode was pretty annoying. So the first mistake Google made was releasing a tablet before fixing the software issue.

In fact, this was the biggest mistake Google made. As I’ve mentioned earlier the hardware itself is great. Yes, some feel it’s a little expensive, but we need to remember this was a top of the range tablet. If you want the best you have to pay for it.

THE PIXEL SLATE WAS TOO GOOD FOR CHROME OS

The fact is that the Pixel Slate was too good. I know that may sound like an odd thing to say, but it’s the reason why the Pixel Slate flopped.

Everyone gets excited when big manufacturers such as Google and Apple bring out new products. It was all the hype around the Pixel Slate that got so many people excited. Generally speaking, this is a really good thing to get a product hyped up before even being released.

However, on this occasion, this was probably the worst way to bring out a flagship cutting-edge product by Google in a long time.

You can imagine how excited the reviewers and consumers were when they got their hands on the new Pixel Slate. Unless you were a die-hard Chromebook enthusiast, you would have no idea about the issues surrounding Chrome OS. Them issues being that it sucked when it came to tablets.

Google Pixel Slate keyboard
Pixel Slate keyboard with backlit display

The Pixel Slate and all the fancy packaging would have increased the hype. That amazing display when first powered up would have also got people excited.

This is where it would have all gone wrong. They would have then had the first experience of using a tablet with Chrome OS. Full of bugs and so slow that it would frustrate anyone who used it.

I love Google, I have always liked their products and the way they are so forward-thinking when it comes to technology. On this occasion though, they definitely messed up in a big way.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

Although Google publicly announced in 2019 that it would no longer support any future development of the Pixel Slate. It’s become one of those products that everyone is still shouting about.

It’s a little bit like the Minidisc when Sony discontinued that. There were so many Minidisc fans out there, that they just would not let Minidisc die. Even today, the Minidisc in the second-hand market is doing really well.

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This happens when a manufacturer makes a move too soon. People are still buying the Pixel Slate and until they run out of stock I can’t imagine this stopping. I have this feeling that the Pixel Slate will still be seen as amazing tablet years from now.

Luckily, Chrome OS has now advanced a lot compared to how it once was. Using it in tablet mode is much better than before. Is it as good as Android? Possibly not, not just yet. However, I’m sure with ongoing development in can get there.

CONCLUSION

The Pixel slate is still selling really well. Even though it has widely been reported that Google has given up on it. That suggests to me that the consumer has different ideas to Google.

Giving up on the Slate so early was definitely a bad move. I get it to some extent, as it’s very difficult to come back from such a disastrous launch.

The thing is, Google just need to concentrate on Chrome OS and the functionality it provides when using in tablet mode. Once all these issues are dealt with, there will be no reason why the Slate and future products cannot compete with the Surface Pro and iPad Pro.

Google need Chrome OS to be seen as an amazing choice for people switching from other operating systems. At the moment, that is definitely seen when people buy a Chromebook. I can’t see why this can’t be the same for tablets.

Android tablets are great, but they are not as great if you want to use them as a laptop. This is where Chrome OS has the advantage. It just needs more development. It definitely has the ability to offer a true 2-in-1 experience.

Until then, we are luckily seeing other manufacturers starting to bring out tablets to run on Chrome OS. Sure, they are not as fancy as the Pixel Slate, but given time I’m sure we’ll see more high-spec models being released as Chrome OS improves for the tablet sector.