Update: The "Tablets" tab is back | Google silently exits the tablet market
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UPDATE: The "Tablets" tab has returned to the site and seems to display the same information it did prior to yesterday's publication of this story.
Tablets are in a weird spot. After a meteoric rise in popularity starting with the iPad 2, sales of the handheld computers have slowly but steadily declined over the past few years. In a tangible show of the classic economics of supply and demand, the glut of cheap Android tablets has pushed the market down, and with it, demand. Google may be seeing the writing on the wall and has quietly removed the “Tablets” heading from its Android website.
The removal of the Tablets section came without announcement, in typical Google fashion. Note that this isn’t the end of Android on tablets; after all, Android is an open-source operating system and the most popular mobile platform in the world. This does mean that Google will probably shift focus away from (what is arguably) a dead market.
That’s a shame, too. Google has released some of the absolute best Android tablets ever made, including the popular 2013 Nexus 7 and the stunning Pixel C. But it’s likely that poor sales have plagued the tablet market over the past year, save for the iPad.
This could have another meaning, though. Rumors have been swirling for years that Google will one day combine Chrome OS and Android into a single unified operating system. Whether it’s under the Andromeda moniker or Fuschia branding, there’s been a growing amount of evidence for an OS merger. Android Apps (finally) debuted on Chromebooks last year to mixed reviews, and canning tablet sales could indicate a renewed push for Google to develop the overlapping OS.
Of course, it could just mean that Google is tired of investing in chickens that lay rotten eggs.