Google’s ‘premium’ pixel tablets certainly don’t look luxurious.

Large white bezel. Matte, plastic-looking back. thick profile. 2023. Android.

That’s all we know about Google’s upcoming Pixel Tablet, which the company teased at the keynote of this week’s I/O 2022 Developers Conference. Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services and head of the Pixel program, confirmed to colleague David Pierce that tablets will fill the range of Pixel devices and provide a complete ecosystem to Google’s lineup.

But when I saw a Pixel Tablet image appearing in the live stream during the keynote, I was like, “Is that? Is that what Google is making big money on with tablet hardware?” This Google-introduced device reminds me of the front of a Samsung tablet circa 2013 or 2014, and the back of the Amazon Fire HD 10. It won’t feel futuristic or up to date when it’s set to launch in 2023.

The Pixel Tablet appears to have a relatively thick profile compared to the latest tablets from Apple or Samsung.
Screenshots by Sean Hollister / The Verge

It’s been years since Google made its own tablets, but the rest of the tablet market (ie Apple and Samsung) improved their offerings with sleek aluminum frames. Loud and expansive speaker system; And there’s a trim bezel that really pops out everything on the bright, high-refresh screen. Damn, even the relatively cheap Chrome OS tablets look more modern than Google has ever shown.

Another odd part of this design is that it has no resemblance to the Pixel line of phones. When you see the iPad Air or iPad Pro, you can immediately check the connection with the latest iPhone. I’m not asking Google to install a camera bar on the back of the tablet (or should it?), but this tablet looks like it could be made by any company and doesn’t fit Google’s Pixel 6 exactly. 6A, 7 or even Pixel Watch. It looks like a reference design the factory can slap together for a client. Even though Osterloh described it as “the perfect companion to Pixel” and “the next-gen Android tablet”.

This is the 2014 Samsung Galaxy Tab S. If you remove the home button and Samsung logo, you get something very similar to the Pixel Tablet.

Most of this can be forgiven if Google decides to price the Pixel tablet very low to compete with Amazon’s cheaper Fire tablet (and if we listen again to the Nexus 7, the only Google tablet everyone loved). However, in a separate conversation, Osterloh said the tablet would be “a premium-style product with a larger size.” This indicates to me that A) will not be particularly cheap and B) will not be particularly small.

2023 is still a long way off, and Google has plenty of time to adjust here. We also know very little about the hardware itself. What Tensor Processor is inside? How much RAM and storage do you have? Does it support pen input? Is there a version with a less distracting black bezel? Are there any detachable keyboard accessories? (The last point is probably because it looks like there was a pogo pin on the back of the tablet.) I’m judging by the design I know. this year Pixel product line. Perhaps by 2023, Google will switch everything back to a matte plastic aesthetic, and the Pixel Tablet will do just that. It’s taken a weird turn after adopting high-end metal and glass finishes on Pixel phones, but it’s not the weirdest thing we’ve seen on Google.

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It’s hard to say for sure, but from here it looks horrible like plastic.
Screenshots by Sean Hollister / The Verge

Of course, the hardware doesn’t make the Pixel tablet sink or swim. It will all come down to software. Google still has a lot of work to do to prove it cares about Android tablets. The company promises to update more than 20 first-party apps over the next few weeks to better support tablet displays, and says it’s actually got support from major third-party apps to create tablet versions of its Android apps as well. But it’s a story we’ve heard a lot before, and I’m hesitant to believe it until I see it.

Despite all this and the long lead time for the Pixel Tablet to hit the market, first impressions matter, and based on what we’ve seen so far, it’s hard to get excited about it and see how Google is doing anything else. It’s something we already have on other companies’ tablets. It’s odd that this hardware design was chosen for attention.

And that white bezel.

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