September 29, 2022
From the Editor's Desk: Making sense of the Google Pixel Tablet

Last week’s Google I/O keynote was perhaps the most gadget-heavy Google presentation we’ve seen in almost a decade. Google’s developer conference has often hosted consumer hardware launches, but between the Pixel 6a, Pixel Buds, Pixel 7 series, and Pixel Watch, this keynote felt like it was aimed at Pixel fans just as much as software engineers. And far from being devices you’ll actually be able to buy soon, many of Google’s new gadgets won’t be available for several more months.

Most curious of all is the device we’ve come to call the Google Pixel Tablet. Google hasn’t officially named this new slate just yet, instead calling it simply “our Android tablet.” Thanks to renders revealed on-stage, we know more or less what it’ll look like, and that it’ll use a Google Tensor processor — although it’s unclear whether this will be the current, first-gen Tensor from the Pixel 6, or the second-gen SoC that’s headed to the Pixel 7 series.

And we also have an outstandingly vague launch window of “2023,” raising the prospect that a whole year — or perhaps even longer — could elapse between now and the time we’re actually able to buy Google’s first Android tablet since 2015. It’s pretty odd for a product to be pre-announced in this way, especially when the lead time is so long, and especially when the thing itself seems spectacularly unremarkable.

Appearance-wise, the Pixel tablet is about as generic as you could imagine. This doesn’t look like a device to challenge the best Android tablets. There are large bezels that wouldn’t look out of place on a slate from half a decade ago. A single rear camera protrudes from the back panel, which appears to have a Pixel 5-like plastic coating. In fact, the entire thing looks like someone just grabbed a Pixel 5 and stretched it out into a widescreen tablet form factor. There’s a power button, volume controls, and a big G on the back. It looks almost deliberately unremarkable.

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