Last week’s Google I/O keynote was perhaps the most gimmicky Google presentation we’ve seen in nearly a decade. Google’s Developer Conference has often hosted consumer hardware launches, but between the Pixel 6a, Pixel Buds, Pixel 7, and Pixel Watch series, this talk seemed to be aimed at Pixel fans as much as software engineers. And far from being devices you’ll be able to buy soon, many of Google’s new gadgets won’t be available for several months.
Most curious of all is the device we call Google Pixel Tablet. Google has yet to officially name this new slate, simply calling it “our Android tablet.” Thanks to the renders revealed on stage, we more or less know what it will look like and that it will use a Google Tensor processor – although it is not clear if it will be the current first generation Tensor of the Pixel 6or the second generation SoC which is heading towards the Pixel 7 series.
And we also have an extremely vague launch window of “2023”, which suggests that a whole year – or maybe even more – could pass between now and when we can actually buy the first Android tablet. from Google since 2015. It’s pretty strange that a product is pre-announced in this way, especially when the delivery time is so long, and particularly when the thing itself seems spectacularly banal.
Some Google watchers are thrilled. Others not so much.
In appearance, the Pixel tablet is about as generic as you can imagine. It doesn’t look like a device to challenge the best android tablets. There are large bezels that wouldn’t look out of place on a slate from half a decade ago. A single rear camera protrudes from the rear panel, which appears to have a Pixel 5-like plastic covering. In fact, it all looks like someone just grabbed a Pixel 5 and stretched it into a tablet form factor. widescreen. There’s a power button, volume controls, and a big G on the back. It seems almost deliberately banal.
So it’s hard not to look at a tablet like this and wonder what it’s for – both in Google announcing this thing in mid-2022 and it exists to begin with. Neither the company nor Android itself has an outstanding track record when it comes to tablets, and the Pixel tablet looks a lot like just another Android tablet.
There’s reason to think this tablet might be different, though, and more commercially successful than flops like the Nexus 9 and Pixel C. First, Google’s decision to show off the Pixel tablet for the first time at I/O is a statement of intent around the future of Android tablets. Over the past few months, ahead of Android 12L’s launch, Google has insisted it’s serious about Android on big screens. However, many of us assumed that any advantage of Android over tablets would just be a side effect of Google chasing the foldable market. Announcing an “Android tablet” now is Google, to some extent, putting its money where its mouth is. (Although let’s face it, launching just one tablet a year from now is a pretty low bet.)
But there’s also the strong possibility that it’s more than just a Pixel-branded Android tablet designed to do typical tablet things. The slate’s design is arguably closer to Google’s Nest smart home product line than its Pixel smartphones – the stark white front is a perfect match for the current Nest Hub Max. And you can easily imagine this docking station in a speaker base to charge or
“According to a source who has proven familiar with Google’s plans, the next Nest Smart Display will have a detachable screen that can be used as a tablet. more conventional look.”
According to this report, this detachable and dockable Nest Hub was supposed to be unveiled in 2022. However, it’s easy to see how such a complex project could have slipped into next year, whether due to supply chain issues or engineering issues.
Google has been adding more tablet-style UI elements to smart displays over the past year, so a full Nest tablet capable of double-duty as a smart display would make a lot of sense for the Google ecosystem. . The larger “Pixel Tablet” display suggests it’s designed primarily for home use, and there’s no sign of cellular capabilities in the renders shown at I/O. The design’s neutrality is also in line with Google’s smart home portfolio.
It could be a tablet meant to move around your home, perhaps to anchor in your kitchen or living room, potentially being used by multiple people in your household. It would be more of an Echo Show rival than an iPad competitor – I don’t think we’ll ever see a keyboard dock for that product, for example. That said, the tablet features first introduced in Android 12L could make Google’s new tablet a better all-rounder than Amazon’s offering.
There’s plenty of time to think about Google’s Pixel tablet (or Nest tablet) in the run-up to its eventual launch. But so far, despite a seemingly pedestrian design, there’s every chance that Google could surprise us with a unique approach to the tablet form factor.
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