Google’s Pixel Tablet has recently re-entered the tablet market with mixed reviews from users and tech media. However, popular tech YouTuber and blogger MKBHD has described it as a “new bargain”, which has created some buzz around the tablets. Has Google finally found its footing in the tablet market, or is this just another experiment?
Pixel Tablet comes with Android 13 and boasts the first tablet to feature the Tensor G2 chip. It has an 11-inch screen with a half-inch bezel on all sides. The 2560×1600 resolution display is sharp and bright, albeit not on par with the perfect black levels and high contrast of OLED. However, the 16:10 aspect ratio feels cumbersome in portrait mode, tablets comes in two storage options: a $499 model with 128GB of storage and a $599 model with 256GB of storage.
From Honeycomb to Pixel Tablet
This is Google’s 7nd gen tablets, and it has been five years since the last one, it has been 11 years since Google’s first tablets was introduced, and the tablet market has seen many changes since the introduction of the iPad.
Google has a history of experimenting with different tablet forms, with varying degrees of success. In the early days of Android, there was a special version called Honeycomb (Android 3.0), which was never open-sourced and never ran on phones. It was the first and last Android version designed specifically for tablets.
However, tablets running on Honeycomb almost all failed, and Google was not satisfied with that result. When developing Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and 4.1 Jelly Bean, Google realized that phone screens were gradually getting bigger and that it was time for Android to formally enter the big-screen market. Tablets as productivity tools also had infinite market potential.
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in an interview that the tablet designed by Google would be on sale within six months and would compete with the iPad. Two months later, at the CES trade show in Las Vegas, Asus confidently became Google’s manufacturer.
However, Google wanted a product that could be developed within four months, with a per-unit cost of less than $200. As the manufacturer, Asus was under tremendous pressure, engineers were constantly complaining. Fortunately, Asus miraculously completed the impossible task. The first Nexus tablet was released in July 2012.
Nexus 7 7-inch tablet was named after its screen size and featured the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, which was a star product at the time, Nexus 7 was launched with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which inherited the UI design from the Honeycomb era. In tablet mode, it had a bottom taskbar that is not seen in current Android versions, as well as a notification and quick settings window that only took up about a quarter of the screen.
The Nexus 7 set a new sales record for the Nexus series at the time. However, due to its low price, Google and Asus did not bring in too much profit, and the Nexus 7 was unable to completely dominate the iPad or have the momentum of the Kindle Fire. Nexus 7 did not have a particularly well-developed media and gaming ecosystem, nor did it have the ability to serve as a productivity tool.
The 2nd-gen Nexus 7 continued this success, Nexus 7 II was launched in 2013, still manufactured by Asus, with a more powerful Qualcomm processor, and the screen and exterior materials were upgraded, making the overall quality even better. This led to the release of the first Nexus tablet in 2012, which broke sales records for the Nexus series, 2nd-gen Nexus 7 followed in 2013, maintaining the momentum.
In the second half of 2012, new Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 a tablet manufactured by Samsung. Resolution was the core of the Nexus 10. Samsung designed a 2560 × 1600 pixel IPS display for this tablets, with a PPI of up to 300, making it the tablet with the highest screen resolution at the times
However, the display quality of the Nexus 10 did not improve despite the high resolution, and the low contrast and color saturation were the biggest problems with its large screen. Moreover, due to limitations in the app ecosystem, having a large screen alone was not enough to become a productivity space for programming or text work. Nexus 10 was gradually phased out shortly after the launch of the 2nd gen Nexus 7 II.
Enter the Pixel Tablet: Has Google Finally Nailed It?
Fast forward to the present, and Google has released the Pixel Tablet, a device that seems to have learned from the company’s past missteps. The tablet is powered by Android 13 and features the Tensor G2 chip, making it a performance powerhouse.
The Pixel Tablet runs on Android 13, which is the latest version of the Android operating system. It comes with a lot of new features and improvements, making it faster, more secure, and more user-friendly. One of the most notable features of Android 13 is its improved privacy settings, which give users more control over their data and privacy.
The Pixel Tablet’s hardware is also impressive. The device has a sleek design with a half-inch bezel on all sides, making it easy to hold and use. The tablet is lightweight, making it easy to carry around. The speakers on the device are also excellent, with clear and crisp sound quality.
However, the Pixel Tablet has some drawbacks. One of the biggest complaints about the device is its aspect ratio, which feels a bit awkward in portrait mode. Some users have also criticized the device’s battery life, which is not as long as some of its competitors. The Pixel Tablet also lacks a headphone jack, which may be a deal-breaker for some users.