Perhaps Google had gotten sick and tired of people leaking their upcoming hardware that they’ve decided to leak it to the world themselves. During the recent Google I/O developer conference, the highlight product announced was of course the Pixel 6a, but they also teased some of their upcoming hardware, such as their next flagship smartphones the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, as well as a surprise teaser of the Pixel Tablet.
Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro
Google showed off the design of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, and it seems like they will retain the same design philosophy of the current generation Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones. The horizontal camera bar on the rear of the device for instance stays, but gone is the black finish on the entire module.
Instead, it now has a two tone finish with cutouts for the cameras itself. The Pixel 7 has a pill-shaped cutout housing two cameras, while the Pixel 7 Pro has the pill along with a second cutout for a third rear camera. This likely implies that the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will continue with the same type of rear camera configuration as the current Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
They did not reveal much else, but did say that they will come with the next version of Google Tensor. Again, not much is known for now about the upcoming generation of Google Tensor processors, but we should know more by the second half of the year.
Now this one’s a bit of a surprise. Google also showed off an early look at their upcoming Android tablet, three years after Google’s Senior Vice President of Devices and Services Rick Osterloh announced that they had stopped working on tablets. That resignation from the tablet scene happened after the 2018 Pixel Slate, a Chrome OS tablet that was badly received by many.
So why the return to the tablet scene then? Well for starters this will actually be their first Android-powered tablet since the Nexus 9 from 2014. And timing-wise, it makes perfect sense for Google to step back into the tablet scene as they’ve already been working hard at making Android much better for large screen devices like tablets and foldables. We’ve already covered the Android 12L special feature drop for instance that brings UI tweaks specially for larger screens and features such as split screen view. Android 13 goes a step further too, with early previews of Android 13 giving developers extra tools for making their apps work on larger displays.
Just like the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro though, we don’t know much about right now, other than that they’re slated for a 2023 release date and will be powered by a Google Tensor processor. The early preview Google gave of the Pixel Table also highlights a rather bland design, with thick white bezels, a front facing camera on the horizontal bezel and a seemingly matte back cover. There’s also just one rear camera on the Pixel Tablet, with a power button on the top right of the device.
As of now, the Android tablet scene has a number of solid hardware options across various price ranges, but people often still end up preferring Apple’s range of iPads thanks to their better software optimisations. With foldables taking off and Google themselves bringing out a Pixel tablet soon, this could be the paradigm shift Android tablets needed to finally be able to take on their iPadOS rivals.