After seemingly forgetting the existence of Android tablets for a while, Google has suddenly made a very big investment in the market. Android 12L is in development to support larger-screen devices, and Rich Miner, one of the platform’s co-founders, has rejoined the team with the title Android Tablet CTO. Now, on Google’s “Android Show,” Mina explained to developers what the company sees.
Mina pointed to the introduction of Android tablets in 2011 and how apps like media players could easily fit into them without much investment, but growth “has stalled a bit” since then. Now, the data he cites shows that growth took off before the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019 and continues to rise, with more keyboard peripherals and third-party manufacturers developing software and hardware, making it a better creation tool, not media consumption tools to buy home and watch movies.
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Another reason he cites is that tablets can be “powerful and less expensive than laptops.” This spurred Google’s work on Android 12L to optimize its system UI for use on larger devices, as well as to optimize the formatting of its apps for larger screens.
Mina called on developers to revisit their apps and consider leveraging the tools Google is building to improve tablet support, and even build tablet-led apps to hit the market. He pointed to the 2020 sales figures, “tablet purchases are actually starting to approach laptop shipments…. I actually think there’s going to be a crossover in the not-too-distant future, which is an annual There are more tablets sold than laptops. I don’t think users will come back once they get past that point.”
We’ll need to see more action to believe that Google’s re-launched tablet will avoid the pitfalls of stagnation, adding support for developers and new apps that make us want to pick up tablets again. In that regard, we’d also be more than happy to see if a larger (and possibly foldable) Pixel is on the way.