Update: An earlier version of this article indicated that Google had given up on tablets, when that was a bit a misleading. Google's hardware division (also known as Made By Google) is no longer working on any tablets. But Google will continue to support its partners in creating tablets running Android and Chrome OS.
“Chrome OS has grown in popularity across a broad range of form factors and we'll continue to work with our ecosystem of partners on laptops and tablets. For Google's first-party hardware efforts, we'll be focusing on Chrome OS laptops and will continue to support Pixel Slate.” – a Google spokesperson
Google's hardware division has officially given up on tablets. And this should surprise absolutely no one.
The search giant hasn't really focused on tablets in the past couple of years. Making only a couple of tablets in the past five years, with the Nexus 9, Pixel C and Pixel Slate. The last one, the Pixel Slate, was released last year, and it was complete garbage. Just about everyone that reviewed it, and those that bought it, would agree. It was completely terrible.
Thankfully, you won't need to deal with that again. Google is done with tablets. The only "tablets" it'll be making, are laptops that are 2-in-1's. So they are basically laptops with touchscreens, like the Pixelbook.
Google spoke with JR Raphael from Computer World this week, and said that it did have two smaller-sized tablets that it was working on. But earlier this week, it scrapped those two tablets, and won't be making any others.
The two tablets that Google was working on, were still very early in the development stage. There weren't even any codenames or any specs assigned to those tablets. So it's unlikely that Google really lost any time or R&D when scrapping these tablets.
As expected, this does not affect Pixel smartphones, as those are handled by a different department. This was the team that worked on the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate. Raphael was also able to clarify that when Google says "tablet" it means something that can completely detach from a keyboard base. So that means that laptops that have touchscreens and run Chrome OS, are not dead.
Google is still working to reassign the employees that were working on those abandoned projects, into other areas. Though, many of them have already moved over to the laptop side of that division. And It's likely that the others will also move that way.
This is something we had pretty much expected to hear from Google for the past few years. It went from making a couple of tablets every year, to making one, and then to making none. It would put out a new tablet every couple of years, but they always seemed half-baked. Particularly the Pixel Slate that was announced last year, which was just terrible and seemed like Google didn't even try it out before announcing and selling it.
Tablets have mostly died on the Android side of things. The only company really making money off of tablets on the Android side, is Amazon. A company that uses a forked version of Android, and very cheap hardware to sell them. Google just can't compete with Apple's iPad, which just seems to get better and better every year. In fact, it is better than a Chromebook for most people.
There are still many users out there that would love to have a tablet from Google, essentially a Chromebook but in a tablet form. But Google just doesn't know how to make it appeal to the masses, so that it will actually sell. Which is unfortunate. As now Amazon and Apple have no competition in the space.