Update: 1/29/21 – As of today, the Pixel Slate has officially been removed from the Google Store. Farewell, dear friend! I still hold fast to my belief that the device served its purpose as you can read all about below.
Google’s only real “tablet” style Chromebook made in-house may be discontinued. The device currently shows as out of stock on the U.S. Google Store and has, for months, shown as ‘no longer available’ on its U.K. landing page. While this isn’t a direct indicator and could simply point to a lack of stock, it’s something to consider.
If there is a lack of stock for the Slate, it’s not because everyone is buying it. I mean, there’s really not as much demand for this Chromebook as you may think. While I love my Pixel Slate, I would be lying if I said that even I was super excited about it lately. Buying into the initial hype, I quickly found out how heavy it was for content consumption compared to the Lenovo Duet and how impractical it was to type on in many situations compared to a standard clamshell Chromebook.
For all of its faults though, I really did have a great run with it. However, even when I purchased it, I was one of the few people who I knew that was even remotely interested in it. Largely due to its high price tag at the time, the Slate was shunned by so many people for its flimsy keyboard and reviewers quickly noted that typing with it on their lap was a disaster.
I’ll be honest – I bought it because I was very much tired of the heft and bulk of 2-in-1 Chromebooks at the time and wanted to ditch my Kindle and phone while at home. It would make reading Google Play Books, watching Youtube, and sketching all on one device with ease a possibility. Its appeal was high for me, but it definitely wasn’t for most people and still isn’t. Could the discontinuation of Google’s detachable Chromebook mean that a new model is coming next year? We really couldn’t say for sure at this time, but with the success of devices such as the Lenovo Duet and the HP X2 and even with CoachZ on the horizon, we hope that Google isn’t out of the tablet-style Chromebook game entirely, even though their SVP of hardware Rick Osterloh has previously stated that they have no plans for a follow-up device.
If they were to change their mind, they would need to make a new detachable Pixel Chromebook light-weight and affordable as starting points for consideration. I’d also hope for their fingerprint unlock feature to make a comeback. With so many incredibly innovative devices coming so quickly to market and being met with mass appeal – yes, I’m still talking about the Lenovo Duet and no, I won’t stop because it’s amazing – and if Google begins to make their own silicon next year, we could very well see them double back on their decision. In the meantime, Rick states that they are 100% committed for the long-run on working with their partners on tablets. Whether or not a new Pixel Slate follow-up device could show up eventually, Google’s efforts in the tablet Chromebook market will be impactful and ever-present.
The Slate, like the Pixelbook that came before it, was always meant to act as a halo device – a blueprint of sorts that would allow Google to pave the road forward and show hardware partners what could be possible with Chrome OS if they put the work in. Whether or not the device succeeded, Google still won. I can’t help but notice that since it launched in 2018, other companies have taken point on the Slate’s design and have run with it. In a way, creating the Pixel Slate had the same effect that my buying one did – others around me could get a glimpse of Google’s vision for the future of computing. In the end, while the device itself may head to the “graveyard”, the idea and its forward momentum will continue to live on and in the end, the consumer wins. We’ll update you if we hear more on the status of the Slate, but in the meantime, let us know your thoughts in the comments!
The Google Pixel Slate will continue to receive updates until June 2026