The Pixel Tablet could be the future of smart home displays – Android Authority

When the Pixel Tablet was first revealed, at Google I/O 2022 earlier in May, the understandable focus of most people was on how Google was planning to evolve Android’s lackluster tablet segment. While devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 have their fans, Android as a whole hasn’t had enough tablet-optimized apps, and aspects like multitasking have been in dire need of attention. Google’s announcements were promising.

Those of us tracking the smart home world noticed some other unique things about the Pixel Tablet, ones which could tie into rumors about Google’s smart display plans. If that thinking proves correct, the Pixel Tablet could signal the future of the smart display industry.

Our picks: The best smart displays from Google, Amazon, and others

Evidence on the Pixel Tablet

In the few images Google has shared so far, the Pixel Tablet looks mostly nondescript. There’s a single camera on the back, and its overall design resembles a hundred other Android tablets, not to mention Apple’s budget iPad model.

The front of the product, however, closely resembles another Google device: the Nest Hub Max, its top-end smart display. This could just be chalked up to minimalist displays, rounded corners, and landscape-oriented front cameras making sense in both the tablet and smart display arenas. But the company seems to have consciously chosen a white bezel, which isn’t so popular on tablets and makes more sense in continuing the Nest Hub aesthetic.

A Nest Hub Max.

The thing that’s truly unusual about the Pixel Tablet is a series of four dots on the back, which look a whole lot like the magnetic Smart Connector on some iPad models. Apple’s technology allows people to attach accessories without taking up Bluetooth or USB connections, or even using separate charging.

So far the iPad’s Smart Connector has mostly been used for keyboard cases, and if that’s all the Pixel Tablet uses its connector for, it’ll still be welcome. But given rumors about smart display plans, there’s a chance Google has higher ambitions.

More: The best accessories you can get for the iPad

The smart display rumors

In March this year, 9to5Google reported that Google is working on a Nest Hub with a “dockable tablet form factor” in which the screen “detaches from a base/speaker.” That would solve the biggest problem with smart displays, which is obviously the limited use of plugged-in screens. They can be great as bedside, office, or kitchen companions, but beyond several feet away, they’re reduced to being smart speakers.

Said report claimed that Google is aiming to launch its product later in 2022. On the surface, that would seem to doom any link with the Pixel Tablet — which is only due to ship sometime in 2023 — but release windows frequently change, and there’s a hypothetical possibility we’ll see a scaled-down version of the Pixel Tablet design for a Nest Hub.

Related: The best smart speakers

Something similar has already been tried multiple times by Lenovo, one example being the Smart Tab M10 HD. That product invoked Google Assistant’s Ambient Mode when docked, however, instead of a true smart display …….



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