Google’s answer to the problem of leakers irritatingly revealing its products before showtime has been a slightly maverick one. It now shows off products long before they’re actually available to buy (a strategy which doesn’t always pay off — just ask Apple and AirPower.)
The Pixel Tablet is the most extreme example of this to date. Briefly showcased in May’s Google I/O event, the product won’t arrive until 2023, which means it was teased somewhere between seven and 19 months before it arrives on store shelves.
“Normally we wouldn’t tease a new product before it’s ready,” Google’s hardware boss Rick Osterloh, said at the time. “But there’s so much amazing energy around tablets in the developer community that we wanted to bring you all into the loop.”
Bringing them into the loop just involved a static press shot. The same static press shot, in fact, that you can see at the top of this page, so now you’re just as much in the loop as developers, whether you are one or not.
Unfortunately for Google, showing one picture isn’t enough to stop leakers, proving once and for all that a picture isn’t worth a thousand words.
Last weekend we got our first look at what the specs might be… and anybody counting on an iPad Pro or Samsung Galaxy Tab S rival will be sorely disappointed. Developer Kuba Wojciechowski dug deep into AOSP code and found that the tablet will use last year’s Tensor chip and have just 4GB RAM. In other words, it’ll have slightly weaker specs than the entry-level Pixel 6a.
In fact, it’ll be worse, because Wojciechowski discovered it’ll use the Pixel 6a’s IMX355 selfie camera on both sides, and that it will have neither GPS or cellular connectivity. That points to a device not intended to be taken outside the house — which makes sense when it’ll apparently double up as a Nest Hub (something which Wojciechowski backs up here).
So far, so middling, but there may be good news for those who want Google to reach for the performance stars. 9to5Google has found evidence that there may also be a Pro version in the works.
The latest beta Android 13 code includes references to something called “tangorpro” and “t6pro”, which is revealing when the codename for the Pixel Tablet is apparently “Tangor” and it is sometimes referred to as “t6” in the same code.
Unfortunately, there are no clues as to how it’ll be different, other than that the rear camera won’t be the IMX355. The site doesn’t know what it will be, just that it’ll be different. Otherwise, maybe we’ll get the Tensor 2 chipset, a better screen and a more premium build — but all of that is speculation at this point.
It may not be for long, though. Google has an event on October 6 when it’ll officially unveil the Pixel 7 and Pixel Watch. Maybe Google’ll give us an update on the Pixel Tablet(s) while it’s at it…