At a product-packed Google I/O conference last month, Google treated us to our first very brief look at the Pixel Tablet, due for release at some point in 2023. It’s the company’s first tablet since the discontinued Pixel Slate, which certainly makes it one to watch in the coming year.
But if you cast your mind back to March, there was talk of another possible tablet — a tablet that would be one half of a potential new Nest Hub. Now, according to the site that first reported the insider information, there’s mounting evidence that these two tablets could be one and the same.
9to5Google (opens in new tab) has been diving into the Android code base and has found an interesting reference to something called the Google Dock. This is almost certainly a pun-worthy working title, given its similarity to Google Docs, but the code highlights that the dock will charge the tablet when not in use.
Joining the dots to the original report, the Pixel Tablet would presumably enter Nest Hub mode when docked, doubling up as a smart screen with Google Assistant listening out for spoken instructions.
9to5Google notes that Google has begun to introduce the ultrasonic capabilities found in the second-gen Nest Hub into Android, so sleep tracking could also be possible. Combined with the fitness tracking capabilities of Google-owned Fitbit and the upcoming Pixel Watch, this could really paint a big overall picture of a user’s health if they’re fully embedded into the Google/Nest ecosystem.
It’s worth noting that the idea of a dock that turns devices into smart screens isn’t entirely new. Back in 2018, Amazon introduced Show Mode to select Fire Tablets allowing them to become Echo Shows when not in use. Google’s own Pixel Stand also lets phones chat with Google Assistant while charging, too.
But just because it’s not an original concept doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. It certainly makes sense to combine the two products when they offer similar functionality.
The only slight risk is that with this and reports that the Pixel Tablet will support stylus input, Google will end up spreading functionality too thin, and produce a product that can do plenty, but excels nowhere.
It’s still early days, and all we really know is that the Pixel Tablet will launch in six to 18 months’ time. There’s plenty of time for interesting new functionality to drop — especially with Android 13 due to arrive this fall.