As I remember it there was more a "let's make sure this stuff works good for touch", and not so much "we are going for the mobile market". Therefore I don't think it is strange at all that there are no tablets, since no push for this has been done, as far as I am aware.
As I see it, and this is only my opinion, of course YMMV, Gnome Shell aimed at being the next big thing in mobile DEs. They failed at that, there is not one device in the mobile space that comes with Gnome Shell.
Yes, some people (quite obviously) does not agree with the new interface. I still don't think the impact was really
The problem is that they alienated their existing (and at that point largest ) userbase with that move and ended up with an interface that is not present on mobile devices but caused a serious drop in the number of Gnome users.
People still use Gnome 3, but many do it with Unity, Cinnamon or in the future with Consort as interface.