There’ve been rumors going around for ages that Google plans to build a tablet. They’ve pretty much replaced the earlier rumors that Google would be bringing a netbook to market under its own name. For a long time critics could easily point out that Google is a software company and doesn’t produce consumer electronics. And then came the Google Nexus One: A phone with the Google name all over it.

This week Google sold the last Nexus One through its web store, and the company doesn’t plan to offer any more (although you can still pick up some through partners overseas). The phone wasn’t a blockbuster success and Google sold only a fraction of the number of Apple iPhone, Motorola Droid, or HTC anything phones typically sell.

Google still said the Nexus One was a success, since it pushed the boundaries of what people should expect from an Android phone. And looking at the current crop of Android smartphones from HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Acerm and other companies it’s hard to disagree. We’re seeing plenty of phones with big screens, 1GHz processors, excellent graphics, and the latest versions of the Android operating system. It’s possible we would have seen them even without the Nexus One, but maybe we wouldn’t have.

But now that the Nexus One experiment is pretty much finished and Google has no plans to sell any more phones through its web store, the folks at OStatic raise a good point: What does this mean for a Google netbook or a Google Tablet running the upcoming Chrome OS operating system?

It’s possible that Google may decide that none of its hardware partners is ready to build a mobile device that live up to the company’s expectations for Chrome OS hardware. And so Google could repeat its experiment. But let’s be honest. Not a lot of people bought the Nexus One from Google. And Google had to confront the fact that it was making software not just for its own device, but for other manufacturers that probably weren’t all that happy with the competition. Why go through that drama again with another product category?

What do you think? Will we ever see a Google tablet or a Google netbook? Or was the relatively small commercial success of the Google Nexus One the nail in the coffin?

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7 replies on “Does the fate of the Google Nexus One spell doom for the mythical Google Tablet?”

  1. I believe the problem is that Google does not want the high support costs involved in customer support, although they could if they wanted to. Google is basically a company run by robots, and their costs are razor thin. That is the ethos they have built into the company from their search engine side of things, and they are simply not comfortable with hiring large numbers of people to provide customer support.

    I see the Nexus One as a branding exercise to compete with the strong iPhone brand, but found out that the customer wants support – at least for mobile phones. There are other forms of branding eg. franchising which might work for Google though.

  2. Something sort of odd that no one has mentioned in the “gadget blogosphere” is that Notion Ink’s Rohan Shravan posted this to his blog on July 12:

    “I think you might have heard about Google Tablet. In time to come we all would know what Notion Ink might have to do with it!”

    Notion Ink has been developing a tablet that uses Pixel Qi’s awesome display tech. I’m not sure what Shravan means, but it is…intriguing.

        1. No worries. I was surprised that didn’t get more play too… but it’s also
          very possible that he didn’t mean anything by it. We all know that plenty of
          companies are putting Android on tablets and it’s not 100% clear from his
          statement that Notion Ink will be using a different version of Android than
          what’s available to tablet makers today.

          1. He is sort of a tease – but man…I really want one of those Notion Ink Adams. I’ve been holding onto some money that could easily have been spent on an iPad, and I’m running out of patience.

  3. No. At least not online direct sales. That model didn’t work. They know it.
    An Android HTC tablet with Verizon’s superior network coverage? Better believe it!

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