Nexus 9 leaves, Pixel C last tablet standing in Google Store

Are Android tablets in trouble? While there has always been an industry-wide slump in tablet sales, Android OEMs have always been churning out large slabs until recently. There has been a marked slowdown and distinct lack of high end Android tablets of late. And now, one of Google's very own tablets has left the building. The Nexus 9 has silently been removed from the Google Store and will in fact reach its support EOL later this year. That leaves the rather ambiguous Pixel C as the lone Android slate in Google's device and accessory store.

Very few tears will probably be shed for the Nexus 9, what was the last remaining trace of HTC's products among the Nexus line. Back in 2014 when it launched, it might have been hip, sporting NVIDIA's famed Tegra K1, the same that powers its SHIELD tablets, paired with 2 GB of RAM, which was then still quite decent. The screen was an odd 8.9-inch 2048x1536 display that resembled iPad screen ratios but with a size sandwiched between a Mini and an Air.

While the hardware looked juicy, the Nexus 9 never really caught fire in the market, in contrast to the Nexus 7, which became a sort of darling, especially for developers, tinkerers, and hackers. It might have been reflective of a general distinterest towards tablet in recent years. Suffice it to say, very few even noticed the Nexus 9 was still there until it wasn't anymore.

That leaves the Pixel C as the sole tablet that Google is selling. It happens to also be the only tablet made by Google itself. The problem, however, is that the Pixel C sort of exhibits the same characteristics as the Nexus 9. The spec sheet is nothing short of awesome, with the fastest NVIDIA Tegra X1 running the show, with more or less decent 3 GB of RAM, and a 10.2-inch QHD screen that mimics the shape of paper. And, of course, there's the keyboard cover accessory that takes a page from Apple's iPad Pro book. It would have been perfect if not for the sadly dissatisfying experience of Android on a tablet that is being positioned as a laptop wannabe.

Granted, it isn't unusual for Nexus devices to come and go, and usually that is taken to herald the arrival of new replacements. Indeed, with Google I/O and the launch of Android N so close, there could very well be a new Nexus tablet coming. That is, if Google hasn't decided to make the Nexus brand exclusive to smartphones, repurposing the originally Chrome OS "Pixel" brand for Android tablets. If so, the Pixel C is most likely to remain the only tablet in Google Store. But whether it's called Nexus or Pixel, the more important factor will be how Google's future Android tablets will be able to quickly to a more productivity-focused trend in tablets, not just in hardware but most especially in software.