The last time Google tried to take on the iPad with a Pixel tablet, it didn’t go so well. In fact, a lackluster response to the Pixel Slate led the tech giant to pull out of the tablet game altogether.
But, like The Godfather’s Michael Corleone, Google is returning to the fight perhaps one last time, just when you thought it was out.
We don’t know much about the new tablet, since the company maintained an air of mystery around its announcement. But we’ve gathered up all the information we have right now about this exciting future device.
Google Teases Pixel Tablet at I/O Keynote
Google teased a new Pixel Tablet at its 2022 I/O developer conference. According to The Keyword blog, it will be an Android tablet powered by the Tensor processor. Google promises it will be “built to be the perfect companion for your Pixel phone”.
The tablet will run on the same Google Tensor chip inside Google’s latest iterations of its Pixel phones. This means it should be able to handle tasks such as text-to-speech, real-time language translation, and image processing—even without an internet connection.
Android tablets have struggled to break through in the past because their apps weren’t optimized for large screens. But this time around, Google claims to have learned its lesson and that things will be different with the latest Pixel tablet.
“We have TikTok, Zoom, and Facebook building out new apps this year for tablets,” Trystan Upstill, a VP of engineering on Google’s Android team told The Verge, “and many more coming as well.”
Google is also updating 20 of its own apps for tablets, including Google Maps, Google Messages, and YouTube Music.
Why Is Google Making Tablets Again?
When Google released its previous tablet, the Pixel Slate, it received harsh reviews for its inadequate software. It ran on Chrome OS, which wasn’t great for tablets, and performance was sluggish. Also, the fully specced-out version had a very high price point at around $1,600.
Tech blogger, MKBHD, gave it a brutal review:
After critics and customers knocked the product, a bruised Google killed the Pixel Slate in June 2019, after only nine months. The company vowed to focus on laptops instead.
What Google didn’t count on was the pandemic showing up in 2020. When quarantines rolled out, it became clear to the tech industry just how important tablets are for home entertainment.
So Google is returning to the game with a tablet focused on consumer entertainment, gaming, and other use cases like image processing.
The Pixel Slate will use upgraded Android software while ditching the Chrome OS that’s more suitable for work or school.
“We see it as a critical part of how people are interacting with media and computers at home, especially,” Google’s senior vice president of devices and services, Rick Osterloh, told The Verge about its new tablet philosophy.
Success Is Not Guaranteed for the Pixel Tablet
Samsung is doing reasonably well with its Galaxy Tab line and Amazon’s low-cost Fire tablets are still in the market. Meanwhile, Apple’s iPad remains the all-conquering market leader.
Google will hope it manages to get the balance between technology and price right this time. When it arrives in 2023, the Pixel Tablet will have its work cut out to succeed in a skeptical market.
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