Pixel Slate RIP

I got a Pixel Slate last December and wrote several blog posts about it at the time.

I use it when I travel and just spent two and a half weeks with it as my only computing device other than my phone.

It is fantastic on an airplane as it is equally great for watching video and doing work (on or offline).

At the tail end of that two and a half week stretch I read that Google has decided to stop making Pixel Slates. It will continue to support the current devices but will not come out with a new model.

This means the Slate is a dead platform and that I will need to find another answer for my travel tablet needs. I’m not eager to get an iPad Pro and will probably continue to use the Slate until I find a better answer.

This bums me out. I like the Slate. It has its issues. But I think Google could have easily addressed them over time.

We need competition to the iPad in the tablet market and Google was on its way with Slate.

Comments (Archived):

  1. obarthelemy

    Again, they’re not killing the whole platform, it’s only Google Devices (or whatever they’re called … Nest ? ;-p) stopping to make a marginal piece of hardware. On the OS side, M. Osterloh quickly chimed up that Google is still supporting ChromeOS slates from other OEMs. I’ve got my eye on an HP ChromeBook x2.

    1. fredwilson

      The thing I like best about Slate is it runs Android apps

      1. obarthelemy

        So does the x2: https://www.pcworld.com/art…”I had fewer problems with the Chromebook x2 than the Pixel Slate when it came to crashes and bugs, and Android apps ran as well as Chrome extensions.”Edit: so do most ChromeOS tablets actually. Just like Linux support, it’s kind of baked into basic ChromeOS nowadays, though exceptions apply, so double-check.

        1. fredwilson

          Ok. I’m going there. Thank you!!!

        2. Mac

          I checked this out. My youngest son starts four years of medical school, this August, and three years of residency afterwards. He needs something to manage the workload, and demands on his time, without problems and crashes. I gather you’re saying this is a strong contender we should consider. ,.

          1. obarthelemy

            Congrats to him and you.I’d check with his school if they have any recommendation. It’s not impossible the school/internship hospitals wil use verticals available only on (one)specific platform(s).Whichever platform he chooses,even more than reliability he’ll need backups, which are a) multiple, b) offline, c) offsite, d) tested. Backing up to the cloud doesn’t quite cut it in this age of ransomware and vindictive exes. I’m having my Synology NAS backup my cloud accounts, and then I’m doing a backup of that (and more) onto USB hard disks, at least once a month. As the resident neighbourhood/family nerd, I’m getting PTSD from all the crises due to data loss. Reliability comes a distant 2nd ;-p

          2. Mac

            Thanks for your help. Your insight is very appreciated. We’ll contact the school, along with some of the students he knows there, and get their recommendations as well. We’ve been focused on speed and reliability. We’ll put backup at the front of the line and also discuss that issue with the school. Good idea. I’ll pass along your congrats. Stay on top of that PTSD.

  2. William Mougayar

    Surface Pro! Since you’re now a quasi partner with Facebook, why not give Microsoft another shot?

    1. Dayna Gant

      I have a Surface Pro and absolutely love it. Got the keyboard and mouse but rarely use the mouse because the UI is fantastic.

    2. jason wright

      How are apps on that?

      1. William Mougayar

        There’s an App Store for it. I haven’t missed anything I really wanted to work on it.

  3. Ian Katz

    so what alternatives are the best – I am just looking at getting something?

    1. obarthelemy

      HP Chromebook x2

  4. John Frankel

    Google is not in the hardware business the way Apple is. They were tourists.

    1. obarthelemy

      I think a comparison with MS is more apt, or at least looking at each company’s “out of comfort zone” endeavours: Apple comes from HW and consumer, MS comes from SW and Entreprise and Google from Cloud and mostly consumer, MS and Goog aren’t HW-native.Apple has had a lot of apps and cloud and entreprise misfires (remember that 100% serious, committed, long-term server line). MS managed to stumble on their own feet about Mobile and consumers (got way too late that people used Windows because they had to, not because they wanted to), but apart from Mobile have courageously stuck to their guns on their admittedly limited range of hardware, plus xbox.I don’t think Google is doing much worse than those two in its respective weak spot. They do manage to mess up a lot in cloud/apps too though, that worries me more because they seem to have a “launch and forget” culture, because anything that isn’t ads/search is just a hobby.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Blunt, maybe not 100% right, but does nicely explain a lot.

  5. Daniel Olshansky

    Why do you think it was shut down?Seems like there is a market – iPads.It’s a good product – according to you.Google is not dependent on it as a revenue generator – because ads.I’m guessing that Google is looking for more ways to collect data, and there are simply not enough people using the Slate?

  6. William Mougayar

    Well, Google has already discontinued 19 other products. Seems like they wanted it to be an even 20 now, about 1 for every year of their existence 😉

    1. CJ

      Only 19? No way – maybe 190? The biggest risk to Google is their own inability to focus on anything longer than a year or two.

  7. Noah Rosenblatt

    ASUS ChromebookAlways seems to work great for travel, mobile working and presentations. I got the one that flips and stands on its own, with touchscreen

  8. Daniel Vidakovich

    I’ve struggled with Google’s performance in some areas, too, which is why I think they are only good at search and research. Everything other than search is secondary, which is beautiful, of course.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      My startup really likes Google and their approach to the Internet! It appears that they are still close to the ideas, work, and vision of Page and Brin — a super hot C++ shop with Page Rank and, now, lots of refinements of it. They are just terrific at just what they do, especially running big server farms, but what they do for the core of their business is far too narrow. As I’ve posted here before, my view is that they are terrific at what Page/Brin had in mind, but that is only about 1/3rd of the content on the Internet, searches people want to do, and results they want to find. Decades ago people in information retrieval, e.g., at Battelle, understood clearly that key words are not a very general solution. Yes, doing well in 1/3rd of the problem is a terrific business, but there is that 2/3rds (in my case, safe for work, families, children) that is nearly totally neglected. Google no more wants to attack the 2/3rds than the Atlantic Ocean passenger steamships wanted to get involved with jet airplanes. While this comparison seems true, there is a difference: (i) The airplanes soon put the steamships, for actual transportation, out of business but (ii) good work in the 2/3rds, quite different from what Google is doing in their 1/3rd, promises to make 1+ billion users happy but does not promise to hurt Google at all.Another problem for them will be that in trying to do more, and at times in various directions they try hard to do more, for anything having to do with search and computing they will stay with just what they see in the Sand Hill Road community and in the computer science department at Stanford with, for their best work, a lot of emphasis on neural networks for machine learning. But all that for the other 2/3rds is way wrong headed, and they don’t know it and don’t know and trust any people who know it.All this is a special case of the fact that computer science is nearly a dead field. The reason is they don’t have any effective methodology. The main methodology they need is to be a branch of mathematics, say, like mathematical physics, the more mathematical parts of electronic engineering, the better parts of statistics, operations research, applied partial differential equations, e.g., for fluid flow, (algebraic) coding theory, control theory, etc. But, bluntly, the academic computer science community would need to return to ugrad school and complete a good major in pure math, then a Master’s in selected pure/applied math, and they just will NOT do that. E.g., now at Quanta Magazine is an article on randomness that struggles terribly with “true, pure, valid” or some such randomness: Totally sick-o and incompetent. They need to start with a careful treatment of random variables, and there is only one royal road to that and that is, as started by A. Kolmogorov building on work of H. Lebesgue, the subject measure theory (beautifully written book by P. Halmos and elegant connection with randomness in a book by J. Neveu). Next they need to define what an independent set of random variables is, and that includes, in many even elementary applications, an uncountably infinite set. That is NOT so easy to do. But doing that, will quickly see that essentially all the work and effort summarized in the article, and the article itself, are just JUNK-O. It’s all about 100 years out of date. The good tools go back to the Kolmogorov paper in 1933, and the random number people and the associated computer science people are just incompetent, out of date, with that crucial background. Until they go back and learn measure theory and what Kolmogorov did, they will be only floundering around with nonsense. The situation is much the same for all of current computer science — they just don’t know enough math. Basically they need to be a branch of math, but they are still stuck at the level of ugrad sophomores.

  9. kenberger

    You and I emailed about this back in March when the news first leaked. We then discussed your shelf of early-demised consumer electronics products!

  10. jason wright

    Phew, i nearly bought one of these at the beginning of the month.I assume Google will be releasing the Pixelbook II as a detachable, or is this kit also now dead?

  11. John Lowery

    I’m curious by the use case for tablets at all anymore. I bought an iPad Pro with keyboard for travel, but ultimately found that my MacBook Air was virtually as light but so much more versatile. Curious to see how others are finding use cases for the tablets that make them more appealing for travel (or for anything) than an ultralight notebook.

    1. obarthelemy

      I think it dependson the user. Older people used to Windows/MacOS have the required skills and apps for legacy OSes, but if you’re a mobile-first youngin a tablet is much smoother step up. Apps-wise, it’s give and take, some just *need* a particular Windows/MacOS app, most don’t though, and some even need/prefer iOS/Android apps.I have a pure Android tablet, a dual-boot Windows/Android one, and a Windows laptop (not a nice light one). I used to take along at least the dual-boot tablet “just in case”… now I’m serene with just the Android one, and the smooth transition from doing stuff on my phone to doing it on tht tablet is a delight.

  12. pointsnfigures

    Tried to make the jump from laptop to iPad and never could do it.

  13. CJ

    Check out a Surface Pro 6. It’s either this or an iPad Pro in today’s world and honestly, the Surface is just way better for productivity. I keep trying to make my iPad Pro work but it just doesn’t for me.

    1. jason wright

      On the hedge.

  14. Amar

    Does Disqus not support firefox anymore? Disqus.com goes to a blank page for me. When I look at the source I see:<body> <noscript id=”unsupportedBrowser”> Sorry, your browser is unsupported. </noscript>

  15. karthickgopal

    Do you really think the Slate compares to the iPad Pro? I know you’re not a fan of Apple or iOS but it isn’t even close. Microsoft is the company to bet on as an alternative (if you can work with Windows).

  16. Alex Murphy

    Google seems to be making more and more decisions that are around market share dominance. If they can’t be the 70% owner, get out. While there will be competitors, iPad will not be displaced.This decision is one of dozens that show Google is not a product leader to get involved with at any level.