Nexus 7

Google unveils the Nexus 7 tablet

The popularity of Google’s Android may ensure that Google will play a prominent role in the smartphone market for years to come, but its future in the tablet space is anything but guaranteed.

Apple’s iPad is the tablet standard, and lower-end competitors like the Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet use forked versions of Android that Google can’t control or monetize. For a variety of reasons, Google hasn’t thus far been able to rely on third party manufacturers to build a killer Android tablet.

And it’s unlikely to get easier for the search giant any time soon.