Google is no stranger to the tablet game. The company has been building hardware since the Nexus 7 launched in 2012, but after failing to properly compete with Apple’s iPads for the remainder of the decade, Google allowed its tablets to take a back seat to letting its most successful smartphones drive. The company’s mobile technology. Now, Google is back pushing Android tablets and it looks like it wants to be in real competition with Apple in the space again.
Recently, Android tablets are at the forefront of Google’s mobile brand with the upcoming launch of Android 12L update. While it certainly brings a lot of new features to other mobile devices, Android 12L pays special attention to tablets by adding features that specifically take advantage of the devices’ larger screens.
Now, the company appears to be squeezing tablets as hard, if not harder, than the Pixel and the rest of Google’s mobile division.
When considering the marketing of the upcoming major Android update, tablets are inevitable. This is, essentially, a complete 180-degree shift for Google from previous marketing. which generally separated tablets from the rest of its mobile brand or made it feel like an afterthought. Now, the company appears to be squeezing tablets as hard, if not harder, than the Pixel and the rest of Google’s mobile division.
Time again for tablets
This change was observed internally as well. It seems that Rich Miner, co-founder of the Android operating system and chief technology officer of tablets at Google, believes that the company’s tablets will rise again. He mentions this in a video recently posted on the Android Developers YouTube channel.
In the video, which is part interview/infographic, Miner discusses a trend that Google has noticed in the past few years. He claims that tablet sales started rising in late 2019 and then saw another big spike in early 2020 as a result of the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the newfound popularity of Android tablets, Google has shifted its focus with Android 12L to being “built for big screens”.
It makes sense, then, for Google to shift its focus on mobile to include tablets as a larger part of its brand despite Apple’s continued dominance in the space. While the iPad still leads the market in terms of processing power, Android tablets are starting to rise due to their lower price.
It’s not just about the price
After all, not all tablet owners will want to pay for the power that comes with the iPad. This is especially true because tablets are very popular among children. If a device owner plans to use a tablet for simpler activities like streaming video content or using it as a word processor, then budget Android tablets are a no-brainer.
As Miner said in the Android Developers video, Google has noticed the huge number of Android tablets in the hands of consumers and doesn’t plan to forget them. He claims that tablet purchases are almost starting to rival laptop purchases in 2020, a fact that comes true upon examination. Sales information collected by IDC.
Miner expects tablet sales to outpace laptop sales “in the not too distant future.”
With tablets continuing to be a competitive piece of hardware in regards to laptops, Miner expects tablet sales to outpace laptop sales “in the not too distant future.” Depending on what Google classifies as a tablet, that time may come sooner than many consumers realize.
While Apple smartphones have generally maintained a similar design since their introduction, Android has been playing around with its phones in recent years. The ‘frameless all-screen’ design is still at the forefront of Android products, with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Being a premium smartphone. Foldable technology is also starting to make its way to the fore again.
There was a time in the mid-2000s when foldable phones (oysters, etc.) were the industry standard, but when glass-paneled smartphones like the iPhone started to dominate the market, foldable technology was abandoned. However, in recent years, foldable phones have started to make a comebackWith devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 showing the industry the value foldable screens can provide.
Google sees foldable devices as a way to bridge the gap between phones and tablets in the same way it has bridged the gap between tablets and laptops in the past five years or so. As foldable phones become more and more popular, so will the tablet user base. Since all foldable devices are Android devices, the user base will turn exclusively to Google for its software.
It’s no wonder why Google is starting to realize the importance of tablets from now on as its user base will likely continue to expand exponentially in areas where iPads don’t reach. Android 12L was designed with tablets in mind to meet the needs of Google’s growing user base, but that’s not where the company plans to stop.
Tablet first mindset
Miner specifically mentions that Google is urging app developers to start designing software with a “tablet first” focus rather than a “mobile first” mindset. He compares the transformation of the design philosophy with the transformation that occurred when smartphones began to rise in popularity. App developers simply couldn’t port their software directly to mobile without major redesigns, so a shift was made to bring mobile design to the fore in the development process. This kind of change is what Google is pushing its app developers to do for tablets.
As Android tablets continue to grow, Google wants its apps to take advantage of the real estate available on larger screens. The company is also working on reminding developers to think about the inherent differences that come with tablets. Users may use additional hardware such as pens or attachable keyboards, so these types of things will be considered further as developers switch to “tablet first” designs.
There’s nothing Google has in store for the future of Android tablets, but it looks like the company isn’t planning on pulling back like it did in 2010. Apple certainly doesn’t hurt to find a user base in the tablet space, but as Android devices continue to grow in cracks in iPad coverage Over the next several years, it will be curious to see if the company becomes more competitive in those spaces as well. One thing is for sure: Google is interested in investing in its future, and that sounds like Android tablets.