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Pixel Tablet may be getting a stylus and keyboard, according to a Google app
- The Pixel Tablet comes with a dock but not a stylus or keyboard, and Google doesn’t sell either.
- But a Google-made app suggests that the Pixel Tablet could be getting both accessories.
- Plus, lots of changes and improvements in Android 14 pave the way for a better stylus and keyboard experience.
The Pixel Tablet officially launched on Tuesday, and the reviews are in: Google’s re-entry into the Android tablet space shows promise. Google’s decision to bundle the Pixel Tablet with the $129 Charging Speaker Dock was smart; while the tablet and dock combination can’t quite replicate a Nest Hub, the ability to detach it from the dock and use it as a regular Android tablet makes the Pixel Tablet a much more versatile device.
But as an Android tablet, the Pixel Tablet arguably falls behind its competition in key areas, like productivity. Unlike the OnePlus Pad, for example, the Pixel Tablet doesn’t come with a keyboard or stylus in the box, and Google doesn’t officially sell either accessory to consumers — at least not yet. According to evidence viewed by Android Authority, Google may be preparing to release an official keyboard and stylus accessory for the Pixel Tablet.
A couple of weeks ago, reputable Pixel leaker (and fellow Android Authority contributor) Kamila Wojciechowska published tweets naming a “Stylus for Pixel Tablet” and “Keyboard for Pixel Tablet” as potential accessories for the newly released tablet. Given the leaker’s stellar track record, it seemed safe to assume that these accessories — which she noted are still in development — are indeed real. Thanks to Google itself, though, we now have evidence that they are.
While examining the Pixel factory images, developer Pratyush discovered a URL that leads to the latest version of the Pixel’s Retail Demo app, which is used to lock down display devices in retail stores and showcase various features of the device it’s running on. The URL was spotted in the “PixelSetupWizardOverlay” APK, which points Google’s Setup Wizard app to the location of the latest version of the Retail Demo app during demo device provisioning. Within the latest version of the Retail Demo app — apparently released on May 21, 2023, according to the filename — are strings that directly name a “Keyboard for Pixel Tablet” and a “Pen for Pixel Tablet”.
Although the Retail Demo app doesn’t contain any images of either accessory, nor does it mention any other details like pricing, the fact that these strings can be found within an official Google-made app suggests that these accessories are indeed real and that Google plans to eventually showcase them in retail stores.
The case for a Pixel Tablet keyboard and stylus accessory
Apart from this direct mention in the Retail Demo app, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence suggesting that an official keyboard and stylus accessory are in the works for the Pixel Tablet. When it comes to the stylus, for example, there’s the fact that the Pixel Tablet is noted to “support USI 2.0 stylus pens” on the official product page. And if you look at all the recent work that Google has quietly done to improve stylus support in Android 14, the existence of a first-party stylus accessory seems like an inevitability.
The circumstantial evidence behind a first-party keyboard accessory is less tight, but it’s still there. For one, Google has made a number of improvements aimed at physical keyboards in Android 14, from expanding the number of keyboard shortcuts to introducing new touchpad gestures, modifier key remapping, backlight support, and more. It’s not a given that these changes are intended to support the “Keyboard for Pixel Tablet,” but it’s certainly a possibility. Plus, with the continual improvements to Android’s still-yet-to-be-released desktop mode revamp, having a physical keyboard will make multitasking a lot easier.
As always, take any leak with a grain of salt. There’s no guarantee that Google will ever release a keyboard or stylus for the Pixel Tablet. Still, with this hint originating from Google itself, there’s a decent chance it could happen. If Google ever decides to release the Pixel Tablet at a lower price without the bundled Charging Speaker Dock, then it might have a productivity winner on its hands if these two accessories don’t break the bank.