Google's Pixel Tablet Could Be the Next (and Best) Home Hub

And that could give it an advantage over the iPad

  • Google's Pixel Tablet was officially announced at Google I/O.
  • Android tablets are still just big phones. 
  • Home tablet hubs are the one place Android beats iPad. 
Leaked image of the Google Pixel tablet.



Google officially announced the Google Pixel Tablet at the company's Google I/O event on May 10, 2023. The specs mentioned in the text below have been confirmed.

Amazon accidentally leaked Google's new Pixel tablet, and it might be the first non-iPad tablet worth buying.

Android tablets have a problem: they're cheap. The majority of Android tablets are bought, I'd wager, because people don't want to pay for a more expensive iPad. This means that they're built down to a price, which means that there's really no incentive to make them good. Couple this with the fact that Android apps are just blown-up phone apps, and you can see why you should buy an iPad if you want a good tablet experience. But the new Pixel tablet has a few tricks up its sleeve. 

"For a long time now, the iPad has dominated the tablet space. While devices like the Microsoft Surface do okay, they're really more like compact PCs than tablets. The iPad has dominated not only by having the best features, durability, and interface on the market but also by selling their devices at competitive prices," Troy Portillo, director of operations at online learning platform Studypool told Lifewire via email.

"The new Google Pixel looks like it could change that. Not only does it have much better features and specs than past Android tablets, but it's also priced to undercut the iPad Air, making it a strong competitor for that mainstream tablet market."

Pixel Tablet Peeping

The new Google Pixel tablet starts at 400, and is available for pre-order with shipping expected to start sometime in June 2023. As for specs, you get Google's Tensor G2 chip, 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, four speakers, and a 2560 x 1600 resolution screen with up to 500 nits of brightness.

I absolutely would buy the Pixel tablet over an iPad.

But it's not really the raw specs that matter. It's the experience of using it, from the responsiveness of the UI while swiping to the use of tablet-first apps designed to work on the larger screen.

Unfortunately, we don't hold out hope for the latter. Even Google's own Android apps are lacking. As recently as last year, 9to5Google's Abner Li called Google apps "stretched out phone apps" that "should simply not exist in 2022."

But again, this might not matter because Google's Pixel tablet has an end run that could upset even the mighty iPad. 

Google Home Hub

While the iPad is by far the best tablet in terms of hardware and the number of quality tablet-first apps available, it also has some blind spots. And it's one of these shortcomings that Google seems to have aimed for with the Pixel tablet: the role of the Smart Home Hub.

Until Apple recently updated its Home app to use a "new architecture," you could use your iPad as a hub for home automation. But even then, it was still just a tablet that could run out of battery instead of an actual permanent hub. 

A tablet computer, that's not the Pixel Tablet, being used as a Home Hub.
Not the Pixel Tablet.

Josh Hemsley / Unsplash

The Pixel tablet is conceived to live at least part of the time on a dock. Whenever I have seen an Android tablet in the home of a friend or family member, it has either been in the filthy hands of a child or it has been on the kitchen countertop. That's because the owners like to watch YouTube videos or listen to music or podcasts while they cook. 

The kitchen counter might be the ideal spot for a Home Hub, too. Especially one that, unlike Apple's HomePod speakers, has a big screen to act as a status board for your family. 

"I absolutely would buy the Pixel tablet over an iPad. From what I've seen, the Pixel has been shown propped up on a dock, just like a Nest product. As someone who utilizes the Google Nest technology, this is ideal. It's being referred to as a 'living room device,' and I'm hoping it emphasizes video calls, home controls, and family access," Kyle MacDonald, VP at mobile device deployment company Mojio, told Lifewire via email.

Tablets are the ideal modern version of the home computer, designed to be used by everyone in a home. They can be communication hubs, automation hubs, entertainment systems, and so on. It's such an obviously great use for a tablet that one wonders why Apple hasn't done this yet. Maybe one day, we will see a HomePod with a screen or a hub dock for the iPad. Until then, there's the Pixel tablet. 

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