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Google wants to make a Pixel ecosystem, and the Pixel Tablet is a large (screen) part of that plan
There’s a Google Pixel Tablet in the works powered by Google’s Tensor G2 chip, and it’s due sometime in 2023.
Google first teased the Pixel Tablet during its Google I/O 2022 press event and gave us a more detailed look during its October 6 event. Google is pitching the new tablet as a complement to the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro smartphones and the new Pixel Watch that were launched at the October event. Rumors suggest there could still be a second “Pro” tablet in the works as well.
Here’s what we know so far about Google’s planned Pixel tablet, which will hopefully prove good enough to claim a spot on our list of the best tablets on the market.
Thus far we don’t know much about the Pixel tablet, but we do know the release date will be sometime in 2023. Pricing still remains a total unknown.
We could see it debut any time that year, but realistically it’s unlikely that Google would bring this new tablet to market early in 2023. It seems far more likely that the Pixel tablet would debut in the spring or fall when Google has traditionally released hardware. Fall seems especially likely when you consider that Google’s last tablet, the Pixel Slate, was launched in October of 2018. And before that, Google released the Pixel C tablet in December 2015. So if past behavior is any indicator, expect to see the next Google Pixel tablet debut in the latter half of 2023.
However, given that Google heavily teased the device at its October 2022 event, there is a chance that it will release the tablet sooner rather than later. So while Fall is still the smart bet, don’t rule out an earlier launch.
At the Google I/O 2022 event where it was unveiled we got a brief peek at some promo shots of the tablet, and they suggest it will be a pretty bland-looking tablet.
Here’s a sneak peek at our upcoming Pixel tablet 👀A next-generation @Android tablet powered by Google Tensor, designed to complement your Pixel phone.#GoogleIO pic.twitter.com/5WU6O09UKdMay 11, 2022
Luckily, we got more information at Google’s October event, and it seems to confirm some of the rumors we have been seeing.
First, a rumor from developer Kuba Wojciechowski suggests the Pixel Tablet could have a large screen on a budget, with a huge 10.95-inch display. Google specifically stated that the display will be on the larger side and is setting up the device to compete with smart displays like the Amazon Echo Show 10 in addition to other tablets. So this rumor seems to be panning out for now.
Another rumor has suggested that the Google Pixel Tablet could also come with a stylus as a Google tablet codenamed “Tangor” on the Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) website. Google explicitly stated at its October event that they are working with developers on apps with stylus support, so whether or not the Pixel Tablet comes with a stylus, it seems it will certainly support one.
There was also a persistent rumor of a Nest Hub with a detachable screen. The Android code base mentions a Google Dock capable of charging the tablet and letting it double as a smart screen. The same’s been seen more recently in an accidentally released version of the Google Home app that featured a tablet dock set-up feature.
While the Nest Hub could still be in the works, it is clear now that the Pixel Tablet will work with this rumored Google Dock. Google wants the Pixel Tablet to serve as both a tablet and a smart home hub, and it will either come with a speaker dock or have it sold separately. The tablet looks set to be attached to this dock (magnetically) whenever it is not in use to serve as a smart display and then quickly be picked up whenever you need to take it on the go or chill with it on the couch. While docked, the tablet’s display will show a rotating carousel of images from your Google Photos library.
There are a couple of other design notes that Google confirmed at its October 6 Pixel event. The Pixel Tablet will have rounded edges and feature a nano-ceramic coating on the back of the tablet’s 100% recycled aluminum body. These features are meant to give the tablet a softer, more comfortable feel in your hands.
We also know that the Pixel Tablet will come in at least one color, as Google showed off the Tablet in what appeared to be its Hazel colorway at the October event. Material You is also set to integrate with the Pixel Tablet, allowing users to set their color palettes based on their lock screen and wallpaper. This feature is also available on the most recent Pixel Smartphones, so it is not a surprise to see it here.According to details found in AOSP code, the Google Pixel tablet is set to get a first-generation Tensor chip, which should provide a suite of AI and smart functions, while 4GB of RAM should keep costs down. However, we now know that the Pixel Tablet will run on Google’s new Tensor G2 chip, so take the RAM rumor with a grain of salt.
Developer Kuba Wojciechowski has said that the Pixel Tablet could come with either 128GB or 256GB of internal storage and it will support WiFi 6. It may not have GPS or cellular support apart from wifi. The report also mentions that Google is apparently readying up its own USI 2.0 (Universal Stylus Support) stylus for the device, as well as supporting third-party styluses. Google has since confirmed at its October event that it is working on both stylus and split-screen support with various app developers.
And while few use tablets for photography, it’s interesting to note that both the front and back sensors have been tipped to be the IMX355 hardware from the Pixel 6’s selfie cam. In fact, Google has hinted that it wants the tablet to have a fair amount of the Pixel smartphone features, so this hardware rumor could be a further indication of that.
The Google Pixel tablet is being worked on by the same folks who work on Android, and Google brought it up during its 2022 I/O event as an example of how the company is working to improve the experience of using Android on tablets.This was part of a larger promotion for all the new features coming in Android 13, including some that should shine on the Google Pixel tablet.
Most notably, Google has committed to updating over 20 of its own apps to be more useful and usable on “large screen” Android devices like tablets (as opposed to “small screen” devices like phones). In addition, the overall tablet interface is getting an overhaul, as you’ll be able to see more info at a glance and have always-on access to a taskbar that runs along the bottom. As you might expect, there will also be drag-and-drop functionality between apps.
The Google Pixel Tablet could get a redesigned interface for Google Assistant and Discover according to a teardown of the Google Search app beta update that 9to5Google (opens in new tab) revealed. The Assistant can be brought up using the same hotword and while the colorful “light bar” design that Pixel phones have is still there, the Assistant will show its answers neatly on the right of the screen.
Google also gave us an early look at the Pixel Tablet’s UI — it hints at a more shareable device rather than a personal tablet. The status bar and taskbar are a lot taller than what we initially thought. In the former, icons and the time are further away from the screen edges than you see on mobile, and there’s a prominent account-switching icon on the Keep GIF. This is what suggests that Google views tablets as less of a personal device and more one that can be shared between family members.
Google is also working with third-party developers to make their apps more tablet-friendly. This includes Zoom, TikTok, Facebook and Canva. And the Google Play Store will make it easier to find tablet-optimized apps. Google stated during its 2022 October event that it is working with various app developers on stylus and split-screen support for apps.
And while we’re still learning what to expect out of Android 13, we already know that it will arrive with support for features like virtual surround sound, themed third-party icons, Bluetooth LE audio, notification permissions and better tools for managing your battery usage. And since Android 12L made so many small improvements in the overall experience of using Android on a tablet, it’s likely Android 13 will continue that trend.
Not much is known about the camera specs that we could see on the Google Pixel tablet. Leaker and developer Kuba Wojciechowski has tweeted (opens in new tab)the likely camera hardware that we could see on the Pixel Tablet. This includes two 8MP cameras — one on the front and one on the rear.
For comparison, the iPad Pro models come with 12MP cameras on their front and back, while the entry-level iPad offers an 8MP rear and 12MP front camera.Based on what we now know, it seems that Google is taking aim at Amazon as much as Apple with the Pixel Tablet. The integration with the speaker dock is a clear shot at the smart display market currently led by the Echo Show 10. But this is still a tablet and designed for use lounging at home or on the go, so it is still in competition with the iPad and iPad Air. Aside from its larger screen, it does not seem to be trying to compete directly with the iPad Pro.
For what it is worth, the Android tablet market could use some competition. Just look at our list of the best Android tablets you can buy, and you’ll see a preponderance of Samsung tablets on there, including the excellent Galaxy Tab S8 and Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. It would be nice to see Google bring a new challenger to the table that gives Samsung’s best tablets a run for their money; we’ll just have to wait and see if the Pixel Tablet can pull it off.
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Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.
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Google Pixel Tablet is coming — everything we know so far – Tom's Guide
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