Amazon’s new Android tablet is the future of computing that Google wants

Amazon’s consumer electronics division manufactures Very of the hardware. I’m sure the strategy is more than trying everything and seeing what sticks, but sometimes it seems that way from the outside. It’s easy for products to get lost in the shuffle, but one that shouldn’t be is the Fire Max 11.

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This is a $229.99 Android tablet with an 11-inch screen (2000 x 1200, 213 PPI) powered by an octa-core MediaTek processor (2x Arm Cortex-A78 up to 2.2GHz and 6x A55 up to 2 GHz) with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Battery life is 14 hours and there is a microSD card slot.

For $100 more, you get a keyboard with back cover/stand and stylus. The product page advertises using the former with the Microsoft 365 suite of apps (Office is still a silly rebrand), with productivity at the heart of the $329.99 model. We can’t talk about the quality and performance yet, but this is such a compelling product on paper.

In fact, that’s all Google wanted when it called “Android tablets” the “future of computing.” The company said:

We believe the future of computing is shifting towards more powerful and capable tablets. We are working to deliver the next chapter of computing and input by rolling out continued support across our heroic platforms and experiences that unlock new and better ways to be productive and creative.


Google wants to see stylus-based applications, while believing that large (touch) screens not physically connected to a keyboard will result in unexpected use cases. He explicitly raised the possibility of tablets overtaking laptop sales with price being arguably the key factor.

The belief is that tablets started out being much better for things beyond consumption and being used for creativity and productivity and there was a need for more screens and devices to support that.


On the software side, Google has been optimizing Android since 12L, with work continuing in 13 and 14. Over 50 first-party apps have been updated to support large screens, including foldables, for a difference between day and the night compared to a few years ago.

On the hardware front, the Pixel Tablet launches next month with the best Google has to offer (except for the camera) in one package. It will take a long time, but I don’t think this was what the company had in mind with Android tablets as the future of computing.

Rather, the Fire Max 11 without the Google Play Store fits this view more closely by being incredibly affordable and by nature Amazon with the largest retail presence. A physical keyboard is still the gold standard for office productivity, and the Pixel Tablet doesn’t offer a first-party equivalent. Meanwhile, I’m surprised that Google hasn’t announced an official stylus, instead relying on general USI 2.0 support.

That’s because Google thinks of the Pixel Tablet as a smart home product and a successor to the Nest Hub. As such, it leaves an opening for another model. A Pixel Tablet Pro would fit that bill, but far more interesting is a Pixel Tablet A-Series that offers only an acceptable media consumption experience so it can provide an equally satisfying productivity experience with a keyboard accessory. Going affordable rather than premium is how Google satisfies the ambition of Android tablets, battling Chromebooks in the process, of its operating system running on the successor to laptops.

The Pixel tablet costs $499. An A-series tablet priced at around $349 with an included keyboard, at least, would be the sweet spot.

Thankfully, the Google tablet we’ll soon have is only 49% productivity-oriented, thanks to streamlined Workspace apps (and 51% Nest Hub + media consumption device). We haven’t seen the company try a cheap, large screen that runs Google Docs well. The Pixel line of A-series phones is pretty good, and I think Google could knock it out of the park with tablets if it really tried.

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