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Google’s potentially pivotal Pixel Tablet curveball

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As Google looks toward the future of Android and its platform-wide tablet philosophy, you can’t help but be reminded of the past.

‘Twas a whopping 11 years ago, after all, that Google first turned its focus toward creating an optimal Android tablet experience. Back in the prehistoric era of 2011, Le Googlé launched its initial Android tablet push with the introduction of the Android 3.0 Honeycomb software and an effort to get developers on board with big-screen app interface optimizations.

That effort didn’t last for long, to say the least. Within about a year, Google — well, y’know, Googled. The company lost its focus, pivoted away from its vision, and ultimately just let the idea of the Android tablet languish without any meaningful movement forward or any real platform-level promotion.

So when word broke that Google was making another push for the world to take Android tablets seriously again, including with its own 2023-targeted Pixel Tablet product, it was tough not to feel a certain sense of déjà vu — a sense that, hey, we’ve been down this road before. What could possibly make this time any different?

It’s a valid question. I mean, heck, Android tablets had a beast of a time breaking through and gaining any meaningful traction 11 years ago. And in the decade-plus since then, Apple has only solidified its status as the de facto business tablet standard. How could coming back around now with a new “like an iPad, but with Android” option matter?

The answer, as it turns out, may be right under our sniffly noses. The short version is that Google might not even try to compete directly with the iPad for the general tablet market this go-round. Instead, it might look to create a whole new category of devices that it alone could own.

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