End of an era: HTC stops manufacturing the Nexus 9

JC Torres - May 25, 2016, 8:40 pm CDT
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End of an era: HTC stops manufacturing the Nexus 9

That’s it, it’s finally over. There are officially no more Nexus tablets. While you can still buy a Nexus 9 or even a Nexus 10 or 7 from some retailers, once those stocks are depleted, they will no longer be replenished. HTC has confirmed it has stopped making the Nexus 9, coincidentally also wiping off the last traces of its brand from the Nexus universe. With the Nexus 9’s departure, both from the Google Store and the market at large, the question now is whether there will be another Nexus tablet.

In the six years that there has been Nexus devices, there have only been four (three if you count the two 7’s as one) Nexus tablets, versus eight from the smartphone side of the family. The story of those tablets almost reflected Google’s own perception of Android tablets, which is to say late and not completely loved. Market numbers seem to gel with that outlook as well, with tablets taking a sharp dive after a quick surge in popularity, almost like the dying burst of a supernova.

Of course, there will always be Android tablets, as long as Google officially supports the form factor in the Android codebase. And even if not, OEMs have proven quite capable of modifying Android to take it places Google wouldn’t even bother to look. Samsung did that for the first Android tablet. Jide is doing it for more desktop-like Android experiences.

Google does still have an Android tablet, the Pixel C, and features in Android N does point to an upcoming but belated better tablet experience. But the change of name from “Nexus” to “Pixel” might not just be because the Pixel C looks more like a Chromebook than a Nexus tablet. It could be part of the breadcrumbs that Google has been sprinkling, some of which could be gleaned from Google I/O last week.

For now, all we can say is R.I.P. Nexus 9 and, with it, R.I.P. Nexus tablets.


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