Despite manufacturers’ continuous efforts to create a third entry in an everyday user’s gadget lineup, tablets still are not as well received as envisioned. They were supposed to offer the convenience that neither a smartphone or laptop offers when it comes to portability along with productivity. That’s mostly because of the era that raised giant smartphones and light ultrabooks. Consequently, for the past couple of years, companies have stopped advertising tablets as a third wheel, they’re are now pitched as a laptop replacement for the tasks a smartphone screen also cannot enforce conveniently.


This evolvement mostly doesn’t worry Apple whose iPad sales are stable enough if not skyrocketing. The iPad Pro that was a major topic for chuckles around the technology sphere has remarkably managed to outrun the entire Surface lineup, yes that’s actually true. Although, Google, the company coming up with breakthrough projects to sustain our future still hasn’t figured out the whole tablets dilemma. Their tablet exclusive operating system, Honeycomb never took off and the Android they fabricate now for larger screens is just not capable of withstanding market needs with three major drawbacks – a disappointing deficiency of tablet-friendly applications, inconsistent support from Google( the Nexus 9 still has majority of the issues it had during launch) and a lack of multitasking options which will be partially resolved in Android N but who knows when developers will update their apps for that. Probably, the Nexus 7 was the only series Google was able to sell profitably around the globe mostly because of what we call “phablets” today, weren’t a mainstream belonging for customers at that time.

It’s Time to Pull up the Wild Card – Chrome OS


Fortunately, Google still has a worthy wild card up its sleeve that is arguably their best bet on tablets as well as the 2-in-1 convertible market. I’m of course talking about the Chrome OS, Google’s web-oriented operating system that recently overtook Macs in the US. However, Chrome OS has been always seen as a computing device suitable for students or people who just want to browse the internet. It never really occupied an appropriate category in the industry as customers preferred actual computers like Macs or PCs for advanced tasks and tablets for entertainment or just casual everyday needs. That was entirely based on the application availability pitfall Chrome OS lacked in a widespread manner when compared to other full scaled systems whether mobile or desktops. Manufacturers were considering Chromebooks only because of the fact that some buyers preferred a 200$ laptop which was proficient enough for general work.

Play Store Saves the Day


However, things are about to turn as Google has made the entire play store available on Chrome OS. Hence, in addition to the thousands of titles already accessible on Chrome’s web store, you’ll be benefited with Android’s Play store that has over 1.3 Million apps including games. These aren’t emulated versions running on Chromebooks, rather they will run like any other desktop utility – Windowed and Movable standalone applications ready for multitasking. These apps as Google mentions it will be automatically integrated with Chrome OS’ file and notification system breeding a seamless affair. Furthermore, the recently announced Instant Apps will also support Chromebooks, therefore, you won’t always deal with slow web pages to execute minor tasks. A Chromebook, as a result, will be representing best of both worlds.

Emerging as a Laptop, Tablet, and Convertible

Chrome OS has been gaining momentum in a lot of regions recently, especially when manufacturers started launching two-in-one compact machines like Asus’s Chromebook Flip. It’s a 10-inch large device with a satisfying trackpad and keyboard for getting work done. However, rotate the keyboard and you’ve got yourself a fully functioning tablet. There were two paramount issues with this – not a lot Chrome web store applications are touch friendly and the keyboard isn’t detachable creating the position a bit awkward. Enter Android’s play store with a plethora of titles for any productivity or leisure demands. Additionally, as I mentioned before, people who are actually utilizing Chromebooks are content with the experience as they’re looking at it as a laptop alternative. Even Apple perceived this trend and released products that were structured according to these criteria. Sources mention Q1 2016 saw a massive decline of about 10% in the tablets market and witnessed a significant rise in the 2-in-1 market. Google here is attempting to blur that line which separates these overly differentiated devices. Think about it, with the immense power of Android and web apps, a regular Chromebook will be functioning as a laptop, tablet and a convertible.

This is particularly a substantial step forward for developers who will be now delivering applications for these endless number of gadgets. Google’s past ventures for promoting Android on tablets never really crossed that line of triumph they savor when it comes to smartphones. Chromebooks might be their last chance to maneuver into the large handheld group but it’s a stupendous one. The Mountain View giant will be solving most of their shortcomings by improving Chrome OS and how it stands in the whole consumer industry. Things, however, will be a lot better when OEMs jump in and create exceptional products that are proficient in taking this to the next level.

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Shubham is based out of Ahmedabad, India and is studying to be a Computer Engineer, while specializing in mobile applications. He loves covering what's new in the smartphone space and aims to make it his primary profession some day.