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Pixel Tablet: Everything we know and what we want to see (Updated June 29)
Update: June 29, 2022 (03:30 PM ET): We’ve updated the Pixel Tablet rumor hub below with details about possible camera support. Read on for all the latest information.
Original article: The last time Google launched an Android-based tablet was in 2015 with the Google Pixel C. After that one-and-done device, it switched things up by launching the Google Pixel Slate, based on Chrome OS. After that also failed to gain traction, Google formally announced it was exiting the tablet market completely. However, here we are writing about the imminent launch of a Google Pixel Tablet — a new Android-based tablet from Google.
Regardless of Google’s start-and-stop history with tablets, this is an exciting new product. In this article, we will tell you everything we know so far about the Google Pixel Tablet. Further down, we will tell you a few things we hope to see, too.
Will there be a Google Pixel Tablet?
A new Google-made tablet is definitely on the way, to be known as the Pixel Tablet. The company announced this at Google I/O on May 11, 2022. Along with the Google Pixel Tablet news, the company also launched the Google Pixel 6a, Google Pixel Buds Pro, Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, and the long-awaited Google Pixel Watch.
These devices will make up Google’s hardware ecosystem. Based on the company’s “ambient computing” ambitions, the devices will all work together seamlessly.
When will the Google Pixel Tablet release date be?
Google didn’t give a specific launch date for the Pixel Tablet. Judging from the I/O 2022 announcement, we’d expect the tablet at some point in 2023.
Related: Your guide to the best tablets
However, on stage, Rick Osterloh used purposefully vague language. “We’re aiming to make it available next year,” were his exact words. This leaves the door open for a 2024 release should things not go as planned.
Assuming Google can get the tablet ready for 2023, it would probably either launch it in May 2023 at the next I/O or in October 2023 at its fall hardware event.
What features and specs will the Google Pixel Tablet have?
We’re still a long way out from the Pixel Tablet’s launch date, so we don’t know a ton about it. However, Google did divulge a few tidbits of information on specs and hinted at some features.
Google showed off the design of the Pixel Tablet during I/O. There were no subtle hints, either: the company showed the tablet from all sides, giving us a very solid idea of what to expect.
Interestingly, the Google Pixel Tablet looks like it came from the “old” Google design room that created phones like the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 5. The new design language we see on the Pixel 6, Pixel 6a, and Pixel 7 is nowhere to be found.
In fact, the tablet doesn’t look very modern at all. The front has large bezels all around, while premium tablets from Apple and Samsung have little-to-no bezels. This is interesting because Osterloh referred to the tablet as being “premium,” even though it doesn’t look it (more on this in a bit).
Finally, during the I/O keynote, you could very briefly see a set of pogo pins on the back of the tablet underneath the Google logo. This strongly suggests there would be ways to connect accessories to the tablet, most likely including a keyboard. It’s also possible the tablet could double as a smart display, as we’ve heard rumors Google is working on such a device.
So far, the only thing we know for certain about the hardware inside of the Pixel Tablet is that it will run on Google’s Tensor chipset. Given that we won’t see the tablet until 2023, it is unlikely it would be powered by the first Google Tensor CPU as seen in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a. Instead, we’d expect the as-yet-unreleased second-generation Tensor or something else, depending on when the tablet launches.
See also: Google Tensor vs Snapdragon 888 series
Other than that, we know Android will power the tablet. If it launches in May 2023, that would likely be Android 13, which will be stable by then. If it launches in October 2023, it might launch with Android 14.
A new listing discovered by NuGiz (via 9To5Google) suggests that the Pixel Tablet might get stylus support. The publication found a Google tablet named “Tangor” in a list of Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) products. USI aims to create a standard for active pen input so that any supported accessory works with every certified device. A number of Chromebooks already feature USI support.
It’s possible that “Tangor” is the yet unreleased Pixel Tablet. However, its appearance on the list is a bit strange since Google isn’t expected to launch the Pixel Tablet till 2023. Looks like we’ll have to wait and watch if more evidence emerges in the future about a Google-made stylus coming with the tablet.
Finally, we have some information on camera support. According to some leaked code found by 9to5Google, the Pixel Tablet could lack support for 4K video recording. It would also lack support for many of the photo/video features found on the Pixel 6 series.
What will the Google Pixel Tablet price be?
We do not have any pricing information to divulge yet. We can definitely speculate, though, based on some crucial factors.
As mentioned earlier, Google refers to the tablet as being “premium” even though it looks like a mid-ranger. Now, Google could be using the term “premium” to refer to the hardware and user experience, but the price could still be lower than what you would expect from an iPad Pro or a Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. It would be an eminently smart business move for Google to try to undercut competitors here, which could keep the price fairly low.
Likewise, remember that one of the biggest reasons for the failure of the Pixel Slate line was how expensive they were. Also, remember that the Pixel 6 line has been the most successful Pixel phone in recent years, and they are priced very competitively. With all this in mind, it would make sense for the Pixel Tablet to be at least affordable.
Google Pixel Tablet: What we want to see
Over the past eight years or so, Google has essentially handed the tablet market to Apple. Google’s attempts at creating its own tablets were weak at best, and the company barely made any tweaks to Android to help it accommodate larger screens from other manufacturers.
In other words, Google has a lot of catching up to do if it wants the Pixel Slate to be competitive. Here are the things we hope to see.
A tablet-focused Android fork
When Apple launched the first iPad, it came with iOS — the same operating system that appears on iPhones. However, in 2019, Apple launched iPad OS, a fork of iOS that caters specifically to iPads.
Related: The best iPads you can buy
If Google is smart, it will adopt this strategy. The version of Android that appears on smartphones is simply not optimized for larger screens. Sure, Google started to rectify that with Android 12L, and Android 13 contains all of 12L’s optimizations. However, there’s no reason to bog down the phone version of Android with code designed specifically for tablets. Even when you take foldable displays into account, a tablet’s screen is not the same as a phone’s.
To its credit, at Google I/O 2022, the company did make a few announcements of things it’s doing to make using an Android tablet a better experience. One of these is making it easier to find tablet-optimized apps on the Google Play Store. Google needs to do a lot more than that, though, if it wants to catch up to Apple’s lead.
Innovative hardware accessories
The pogo pins on the back of the Google Pixel Tablet strongly suggest you’ll be able to either attach accessories to the tablet or attach the tablet to other things. The most obvious accessory we can think of for this is a keyboard.
However, we’ve seen plenty of tablet keyboard folios, as first popularized by the Microsoft Surface line. Nowadays, iPads and Galaxy Tab devices have them, too. People will want this for sure, but it’s not exactly innovative.
The question Google should be asking itself is what can't an iPad do?
Instead, we’re hoping the rumor that Google is working on a detachable smart display system turns out to be true. Theoretically, this would allow you to attach the Google Pixel Tablet to a base when you want it to act as a smart display. When you want to use it as something else, you would just snap it off. This would be something Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung don’t offer. Even Amazon doesn’t have anything quite like this.
It would be really cool if Google came up with even more ideas along these lines. What can’t we do with an iPad? Whatever answers you can come up with for that question, that’s what Google should try to do.
A low price
Above, you can see the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. It is an incredibly powerful Android tablet with an MSRP of $1,099. This is the same starting price as the most recent iPad Pro of similar size. If the Google Pixel Tablet lands at a similar price, it will undoubtedly fail.
Google’s last two attempts at entering the tablet market involved very expensive hardware. Buyers balked, and they failed. To not make the same mistake for the third time, Google needs to price the Pixel Tablet aggressively.
The standard iPad starts at $329. That’s the price Google should be at least attempting to go for. It needs to get as many people as possible to buy this tablet to build out its hardware ecosystem and prove it can succeed in making an Android tablet people love to use. If it’s too expensive, people won’t give it a chance, and it will be the third round of failure for Google.
Unfortunately, Google referred to the Pixel Tablet as a premium device at Google I/O. We have our fingers crossed that Google doesn’t conflate “premium” with “expensive.” The thing keeping us hopeful is the Pixel 6. That phone is just $600 — which is a downright steal for what you get — and would be considered a “premium” phone. Still, Google won’t move many of these tablets if an iPad is on the shelf right next to it for hundreds less.
That’s everything we want to see on the Google Pixel Tablet. Which features do you hope for most? Be sure to vote in our poll below.