Google introduced many new pixel technologies during the I/O 2022 keynote, but one product stood out above the other for me. The Pixel tablet has around three seconds of screen time and won’t even be available until 2023 (if we’re lucky). Still, I found the idea of Google adding another piece of hardware to their already growing lineup just incredibly exciting.
It’s not just another tablet
It could easily be argued that despite the “Pixel” branding this upcoming tablet is just one Android tablet among many, one person will be pigeonholed when the novelty fades. And to be honest, it’s a valid argument. Even my ultra-powerful Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra doesn’t get much use, other than occasionally wanting to use it as an extra monitor for my desktop PC.
Why will Google’s tablet be different? the ecosystem. In our next Android Central podcast, coming out this weekend, we’ll cover all of the recent Mountain View announcements. And as I continue to watch the various developer-focused sessions at I/O 2022 and have time to gather my thoughts, it’s evident that Google is taking Android tablets more seriously.
There are dedicated sessions and tools for developers to create new apps or update older ones, with support for larger screens. Of course, the first thing you might think of is the growing number of foldable phones. And that was probably the trigger to force Google to make these changes.
But currently there are only a handful (and I mean only a few) foldables that can actually run Android 13 Beta 2. This latest beta aims to open the door for developers to actually implement the tools provided by Google to better support foldables and tablets. Google even takes the time and provides the manpower to make the necessary changes own Apps so there are no big blank spaces in apps like Play Store, YouTube Music and others.
Completion of the pixel ecosystem
The main reason the Pixel tablet is my favorite I/O announcement is that it will round out Google’s “Better Together” initiative for 2022. Yes, I understand that Google has confirmed that the Pixel Tablet will not be available until “sometime” in 2023. But if you look at how the last year has gone for the company, the premise of a Google ecosystem is finally within reach.
Of course, we don’t have any numbers or specifics, but during the keynote speech, Google stated that the Pixel 6 series has oversold both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5 combined. Then in late July we have the Pixel 6a and Pixel Buds Pro. The Pixel 6a aims to bring a somewhat reassuring presence to Google’s mid-range and budget smartphone strategy.
Google’s low-end lineup has been a bit jumbled lately, between the Pixel 4a, 4a with 5G, and the often-forgotten Pixel 5a. The Pixel 6a should solve this as it uses those same Tensor chip found in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro along with the sleek new design, complete with the cyber robot camera bar on the back. It also includes features like Magic Eraser and Real Tone, which were originally introduced with the Pixel 6. So, essentially, you’re getting a flagship Pixel that has had a few corners trimmed to bring the price down to just $449.
The Pixel Buds Pro bring the Pixel faithful some new and eye-catching earbuds with fun colors and, more importantly, Active Noise Cancellation. On paper, these should finally give us Google’s competitor to the AirPods Pro, and that’s exciting enough in itself.
Further down the timeline, Google’s Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are coming this fall, powered by the next-gen Tensor processor. Accompanying this announcement should be the arrival of the Pixel Watch, which has been rumored about for most of the last decade. We don’t have all the details yet, but by the end of the year, Google’s ecosystem should look like this:
- Budget phone: Pixel 6a
- Budget Earbuds: Pixel Buds A Series
- High-end headphones: Pixel Buds Pro
- Smartwatch: Pixel watch
- Flagship phone: Pixel 7 and 7 Pro
- Computers: Chrome OS and Chromebooks
That leaves only one category left to fill, and that’s tablets. The Pixel tablet fulfills that need – or perhaps, in my case, the desire – in the range of products developed by Google. If all goes well, it should help revitalize a tablet market that, with the exception of a few manufacturers like Samsung and Lenovo, has been largely stagnant.
There’s even a murmur in the crowd about Google taking a page out of Lenovo’s book and introducing some sort of specialized dock. This would turn the Pixel tablet into a Google Home/Nest Hub that you can take with you, giving you the benefits of Nest Hub without tethering it to a power outlet.
fulfillment of the prophecy
We used to be very close to that Better Together ideal back when the Nexus program existed with the Nexus phones and Nexus tablets. Well, at least with the Nexus 7, as the Nexus 9 and 10 just couldn’t capture what their smaller counterparts were doing.
Check out the various press releases and blog posts, and you’ll quickly see that Google is spreading the idea of your devices “better working together” everywhere. Seamless interactions between phone, tablet, smartwatch, smart home, computer and just about everything else.
It’s an idea we’ve long wanted to see from Google, and while Apple and Samsung have done just that, it’s finally Google’s turn.
Maybe the Pixel tablet will be a flop, nobody cares about tablets and foldables, and that idea will end up failing. But I do think 2022 is the year Google finally delivers on the promise of a cohesive ecosystem built by Android and Google before its tablet joins the fray next year.
All the pieces of the puzzle have been revealed; Now we just have to wait and see if Google can successfully stitch them together.