The Google Pixel tablet might be a decent alternative to the iPad, and I welcome it

The Google Pixel tablet might be a decent alternative to the iPad, and I welcome it

For years now, Google hasn’t seemed particularly interested in the tablet market, but yesterday the company announced that it’s working on what might be the company’s first real iPad replacement — a new Pixel tablet set to launch sometime next year.

Apple getting some serious competition on the iPad might be the only thing we need to finally motivate the company to take iPadOS more seriously, and have the software catch up with the hardware…

Google isn’t interested in tablets lately

The last Google-branded Android tablet was the Pixel C, which launched in 2015. This had a lot in common with iPads: great hardware, with the operating system failing to do it justice.

The problem was that Android on tablets was not very good. At launch, with Android Marshmallow, the Pixel C did not have split screen capabilities. It didn’t have a high quality first tip pen attachment. Overall, the OS didn’t feel very optimized, and switching between apps was slow. Virtually none of the apps in the Play Store are optimized to properly take advantage of the large screen space—something the iPad has had in the “Features” column since day one.

It was discontinued in 2017, and the only tablet Google has released since then is the 2018 Pixel Slate, which was a ChromeOS device, not an Android device. A year later, the company reportedly stopped working on the new tablets.

2023 pixel tablet plan

During yesterday’s I/O event, Google revealed that it is now back in the tablet business, and plans to release a Pixel tablet sometime in 2023.

The company revealed very little about the hardware, but it did offer a peek at the form factor — and the unsurprising news that it’ll be powered by the same Tensor chip it uses for its Pixel phones.

I mean, don’t get me wrong; Based on these offerings, Google still has a lot to learn from Apple in the design realm. The device has the rounded back of the older iPads, which makes it look a bit old fashioned, and the bezels don’t look as slim as those on the iPad Pro. But it’s still a huge step in the right direction.

There is one thing the company has achieved, and I Is that true I hope Apple learns from it, is that the front camera is on the long edge, which puts it at the top of the device in landscape mode. It’s ironic that Apple insists that iPads are portrait devices when they make keyboards that work in landscape mode.

Some tablet-focused software news too

There are third-party Android tablets out there – like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 series. But this once again let it down due to poor Android software support for larger screens.

However, it looks like Google is finally making some headway there as well, updating and optimizing 20 of its Android apps for use on a tablet.

Starting today, we’ll be updating over 20 Google apps to look great on the big screens and making full arrangements for add-ons with more to come.

The company is also very slowly improving the multitasking experience on Android tablets.

A decent iPad replacement is good news for iPad owners

For a very long time, Apple has been able to build on its laurels as the default tablet. Sure, hardware development has continued, but as we’ve often said, software capabilities remain lagging, both before and after iPadOS.

Google making its own tablet will likely lead to further developments on the software side, to take full advantage of a larger screen – and hopefully that will prompt Apple to do the same.

A great Google tablet with a great Android experience for a bigger screen is exactly what iPad fans need: serious competition to force Apple to give us a user experience that takes full advantage of the hardware. Even a decent Google tablet halfway through, with external devices made more capable through a better Android tablet experience, will achieve the same.

As an iPad fan, I’m looking forward to the launch of the Pixel tablet.

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2022-05-12 11:49:00

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