The Pixel Tablet will attach to a speaker base to double as a smart display

After a few stops and starts, Google is returning to tablets, but with a smart home twist. The company first teased the upcoming Pixel tablet at I/O this year, saying the device will launch in 2023. Although that date is at least months away, Google wanted to share more details at its hardware launch event today.

Rose Yao, Google’s vice president of product management, said during the keynote that the company views the tablet as part of its Pixel product portfolio and that it doesn’t feel complete without a “big screen device.” That might be confusing if you remember the ill-fated Pixel Slate and Pixelbook, which were Pixel-branded “big screen” devices.

Like other Pixel gadgets, the tablet will be a canvas for Google’s own expression of Android. And as the company hinted at at this year’s developer conference, the tablet will be powered by the same Tensor G2 chip found in the flagship phones. Since this is still just a hoax, the company is still keeping details like screen size, resolution, RAM, and more under wraps.

Google Pixel tablet


Google is ready to tell more about the design of the Pixel tablet. It looks similar to older phones like the Pixel 3, with a rounded rectangular shape and matte glass back. In fact, Yao said the company has developed a new “nano-ceramic coating” that she says is inspired by “the feel of porcelain.”

In an interview with Engadget, Yao said the best way to visualize this finish is to visualize the coating on a Le Creuset Dutch Oven. She said the Pixel tablet’s coating should feel similarly durable and premium, and that it basically has tiny bits of ceramic embedded in the device’s frame, which is made from recycled aluminum. This creates, she said, a “soft, matte finish” with a “grippy feel” that should alleviate what her team felt was a pain point of tablets: “They’re really big devices that are kind of slippery.”

The Pixel tablet also runs Android, complete with Material You personalization and big-screen-friendly features like split-screen and stylus support. When I asked for more information on stylus support, Yao said, “We’ll talk more about that next year,” although she added that “you can use a third-party stylus.”

Google Pixel tablet


The fact that the Pixel tablet will be powered by Tensor, which Yao says is the first time Google has brought its own processor to a different type of product than a phone, allows for a few different things.

“I have so many stories I want to tell about what that means,” Yao said. But she can’t right now, apart from alluding to voice recognition, video calling, photo editing, and image processing as areas to watch out for.

She also evoked the Assistant, which thanks to Tensor can “work seamlessly between a tablet and the phone.” Not only that, Google wants you to think of its tablet as a place for an always-listening assistant, much like you would with a Nest speaker. Yao said her team observed people using tablets and found that “tablets are homebodies.” According to her, most tablets are at home 80 percent of the time and only active a small fraction of the time.

Google Pixel tablet


Another thing Yao said was that while tablets tended to stay in people’s homes, they “don’t really have a home at home.” Often left in drawers or by charging sockets, they can either be forgotten or get in the way. To create a tablet that’s “truly useful around the clock” and that “brings together the best of the Pixel and the home,” Yao said, her team created a speaker charging dock.

Not only does the base station charge the device, Yao said it also “unlocks a ton of new experiences and makes the tablet helpful all the time.” Her favorite feature is the photo frame, which is similar to that of the Nest Hub smart display. But the Pixel Tablet also has front and rear cameras, making it useful for video calls.

Yao said the angle “is just really perfect for me,” although based on the images Google has shown so far, it seems the camera could be shooting at an unflattering upward angle. She also confirmed that the base doesn’t allow for adjustable angles. So if you don’t like the position, you probably can’t change it.

“I really think it’s one of the most versatile tablets out there,” Yao said, adding, “We’ll be talking more about it next year.” Start learn more.

Follow all the news from Google’s Pixel 7 event exactly here!

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