If one looks at the tablet market, you will notice it’s completely dominated by Apple. Android tablets do exist, but they aren’t really mainstream, with only Samsung holding the fort with the Galaxy Tab series. The problem isn’t really with the manufacturers, but with Google itself, as Android is woefully unprepared to directly complete with iOS on the tablet space. Apple has steadily updated the iPad to make it a real laptop competitor, with features like Stage Manager. So, anyone who’s in the market for a decent tablet experience has no incentive to go for anything in the Android camp.
Although Google knows this, and they have been quietly developing their own Pixel tablet, with enhanced features.
Recently, the Android 13 QPR1 beta dropped, and developer Kuba Wojciechowski spotted a new animation, which showcases the upcoming Pixel tab in a smart hub mode, with a dock. There were rumors a while back, of a dockable slate that would let the Pixel tab double as a smart hub.
Google already sells the Nest Hub, which essentially is a tablet and a connected speaker unit. The Nest hubs adds a range of functionality, like controlling your smart devices, using the ‘Hey Google’ prompt, news and weather updates, and more. Google has a lot of incentive to bring this feature to the upcoming Pixel tab, as other than giving users a shiny new dock mode, it would also help Google sell more dock slates.
Here's the setup page I mentioned earlier for docking your tablet, complete with the second animation I showed before at the bottom. pic.twitter.com/W2UNWLpZRB
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) September 8, 2022
Mishaal Rahman, from Esperdev, was able to find another animation which gives a bit more information on functionality. As the setup page shows, users will be able to use Google Assistant, even with the screen off. Like on the standard Nest Hub, users can also customize the docked display with pictures, clock faces and more.
Google Also Working on a ‘Pro’ Version of the Pixel Tablet
At the recent Google I/O, the company briefly showcased the Pixel tab, which is their second release after the Pixel Slate, in 2018. Surprisingly, Google’s own Pixel Slate then didn’t run Android and instead was powered by Chrome OS.
As for the upcoming Pixel tablet, it is confirmed to run Android out of the box. According to rumors, the Pixel tablet is supposed to be a low to medium spec’d device, to keep the retail price down. Although this might disappoint people looking for a true replacement to the iPad in the Android camp. Thankfully, the Pixel tablet might not be the only tablet release for next year, as Google could be working on a Pro version too.
Another thing is the existence of another, higher-end tablet. It is referred to as “T6Pro” or “tangorpro”, while the known tablet is “T6” or “tangor”. It seems to be in its early development stages, and the code doesn’t currently indicate any changes over the regular model. pic.twitter.com/2Fz7ob9LF7
— Kuba Wojciechowski⚡ (@Za_Raczke) September 8, 2022
The Pixel tablet is internally referred as Tangor and T6, and recently Developer Kuba Wojciechowski also found a new device with the codenames Tangorpro and T6Pro in the Android 13 QPR1 Beta 1. Tangopro or T6Pro likely points a Pixel Pro tablet variant under development.
If the Pixel tablet indeed turns out to be an entry-level device, it would make sense to develop a pro variant that can actually go head-to-head against some of the iPads. Meanwhile, Google has been quietly laying the software groundwork for its upcoming Pixel tablets and foldables.
At the recent Google I/O conference, the company showcased a host of new software features for Tablets, in Android 13. One of the biggest additions was a newly designed Taskbar in the UI. Apart from that, there are also several improvements to multi-tasking, with a new drag and drop feature and improved split screen mode. Even the notification tray has been updated to use the extra screen space on tablets more efficiently.
While we don’t know any other specifications of the Pixel tab, Google did confirm it would be powered by their in-house Tensor SoC. Even the Pixel Tab Pro, if it exists, will likely run a faster version of the Tensor chip.