It ended even before it had the chance to begin or something to that extent. For a brief moment, it seemed that Chrome OS was on its way to embracing a new form factor beyond typical laptops or convertible Chromebooks. Standalone or at least detachable Chrome OS slates definitely seemed within Google’s sights until it wasn’t anymore. Now it seems that Chrome OS tablets are all but extinct or forgotten but that’s not stopping Lenovo from trying its hand in a market that Google just quit.
Chromebooks started out as cheap notebooks, practically the larger descendants of the short-lived Netbook category. As laptops slowly started branching out in terms of form factors, so did Chromebooks start embracing Yoga-like 360-degree laptop/tablet hybrids. Strangely enough, very few embraced the actual tablet design.
To date, there are probably only three such devices, two of which fall under the “detachable” 2-in-1 category. The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is perhaps the only true standalone Chrome OS tablet in the market while both the Google Pixel Slate pictured above and the HP Chromebook x2 try to offer the best of both worlds. Sadly, Google itself has backed away from slates, indirectly signing the death sentence of that form factor.
A post on Reddit may have revived hope among fans of Chrome OS tablets, even if briefly. A Lenovo engineer, or at least one who claims to be one, was looking for testers on a Chrome OS tablet. Reddit verified the post but it was later taken down. According to the site, the testing program was axed even before it began.
That’s not to say there is no Lenovo Chrome OS tablet, unless Reddit moderators got duped as well, just that the public test isn’t happening. It’s still unknown what form the device will take or if it will just be a typical Lenovo Yoga convertible. The bigger question, however, is whether there is still a market for such a device and whether Chrome OS’ UI has matured enough to be used completely in a tablet form.