Google showcases the Pixel Tablet dock – it doubles as a smart display

Today’s Google demo saw the launch of the Pixel 7 and Pixel Watch, but it looks like Google really wishes the Pixel tablet was also ready to go. The company has spent some time talking about the upcoming tablet, which won’t ship until 2023. The big news is the reveal of the dock this thing will sit on, turning it into a kind of Google Smart Display.

The Pixel Tablet has the pogo pins on the back, and the other half of this connection is the “Speaker Charging Dock”. Click the tablet into a magnetic base, align everything with the pogo pins, and now you have a smart display with a better speaker. Besides the larger range, it seems almost indistinguishable from the Nest Hub once it’s fully connected, providing a bit of hardware group cohesion.

However, not much appears to be happening on the software side. The rumor mill has long touted this device as a “smart display”, and we know that Android 13 includes a “pivot mode” that seems designed specifically for the Pixel Tablet to push it into an interface that you can see from across the room. Everything Google showed off today while the tablet was docked looked like the normal Android phone/tablet interface.

Although the hardware looks exactly like the Nest Hub smart display, the software is nothing like what you see on the Nest Hub. This is surprising given that the interface of the Nest Hub – the Flutter app – can work well on Android without any major changes. In fact, Google’s smart displays were running Android. I’m not saying the front of the Nest Hub is the way to go, but I expected more of a “10ft” front out of docked mode – something that could be seen from across the room. The only software addition intended for smart screens is an idle “screensaver” mode, which can display a slideshow from Google Photos or a watch.

Google also said the tablet’s body is made of aluminum but with a “nano-ceramic coating inspired by the texture of fine porcelain”. This tablet is meant to give the tablet a “smooth, matte, and textured feel.” Naturally, it comes with the same Tensor G2 SoC as the Pixel 7.

Google will only say that the tablet will come in 2023.

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