I love tablets, and I'm no tablet snob: I'm as happy recommending cheap Fire HD tablets as I am singing the praises of an iPad Air or iPad Pro. But I've never been a fan of Android tablets, despite the best efforts of the Lenovos and Samsungs of this world. It's not them; it's Google. For years now, Android on tablets has just considered them as big phones, and for me that means the best tablets are ones that either don't run Android at all or heavily modify it.
That's changing, though, and the current Android takes tablets much more seriously. And so, it seems, does Google. The new Pixel Tablet looks fantastic and Google clearly has a vision for it that's much more interesting than "big phone".
What's so great about the Google Pixel Tablet?
First of all, the interface is gorgeous. It takes full advantage of the available space and of Material You to create something that's a genuine joy to look at, and apps ranging from YouTube to Gmail have been designed to take full advantage too. Whether you're messing around on YouTube or doing stuff in Docs, I think it really works.
I also like what Google is doing with Google Home. It seems obvious to me that tablets are the perfect devices for smart home automation, but while Apple appears to be taking a step back from that – iPads were previously able to operate as HomeKit hubs, but Apple has dropped that for iPadOS 16, which goes live this month – Google is going all-in. A magnetic charging hub that turns your tablet into a Home interface, changes the way it displays things and adds speakers is a brilliant idea.
We've still some way to go before the Pixel Tablet launches in 2023, and of course what we're seeing now is carefully curated by Google to show the best bits. But I really like what I'm seeing of the device and its Android 13L operating system, and I think there's some really smart thinking happening here. I'll stick with my iPads for the time being, but I can see myself being awfully tempted in 2023.