Pixel Tablet: Include Support for Third-party Styluses

Google’s upcoming Pixel Tablet might sustain the cross-manufacturer USI (Universal Stylus Initiative) standard. In addition, it will allow it to be used with a range of third-party styluses if a recently-discovered entry in the USI’s list of certified products is to be believed.

The entrance, which we spotted via NuGiz, lists a device from Google with the product name “Tangor” and the model number “Tablet,” presumably placeholder names for the Android-powered tablet Google revealed earlier this month.

USI is an industry-wide stylus standard that Google merged in 2018. It’s already supported across a spectrum of Chromebooks, allowing them to be used with various styluses from different manufacturers. But while there are a bunch of proprietary stylus / Android tablet offerings (like Samsung’s S Pen for its Galaxy tablets), no tablets have been certified to work with the universal USI standard.

The USI announced version 2.0 of the standard. This version includes a new wireless charging feature that could allow compatible styluses to be charged by being placed next to a supported device, similar to what Apple offers with the Apple Pencil 2 and select iPads. However, it’s unclear which version of the standard Google’s tablet might support.

Google showed off the creation of the Pixel Tablet during I/O. There were no modest hints, either: the company offered the tablet from all sides, giving us an excellent idea of what to expect.

The Google Pixel Tablet looks like it arrived from the “old” Google design room that created phones like the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 5. Unfortunately, the new design language visit on the Pixel 6, Pixel 6a, and Pixel 7 is nowhere to be found.

The tablet doesn’t glance very modern at all. For example, the front has significant bezels, while premium tablets from Apple and Samsung have little-to-no bezels.

During the Input Output keynote, you could very shortly see a set of pogo pins on the back of the tablet under the Google logo. It strongly implies there would be ways to connect accessories to the tablet, most likely including a keyboard. It’s also feasible the tablet could double as an intelligent display, as rumors are Google is working on such a device.

The only thing we know for sure about the hardware inside of the Pixel Tablet is that it will run on Google’s Tensor chipset. However, since we won’t notice the tablet until 2023, it is unlikely it would be powered by the first Google Tensor CPU as witnessed in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6a. Instead, we’d anticipate the as-yet-unreleased second-generation Tensor or something else, depending on when the tablet launches.

Google refers to the tablet as “premium,” even though it looks like a mid-ranger. Now, Google could be employing the term “premium” to refer to the hardware and user experience, but the price could still be lower than what you would predict from an iPad Pro or a Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. It would be an eminently intelligent business move for Google to undercut competitors here, saving the price reasonably low.

Likewise, remember that one of the most significant reasons for the failure of the Pixel Slate line was how costly they were. On the other hand, the Pixel 6 line has been the most thriving Pixel phone in recent years, and they are priced very competitively. So it would make sense for the Pixel Tablet to be at least affordable with all this in mind.

Over the past eight years, Google has essentially handed the tablet market to Apple. Google’s attempts at creating its tablets were weak at best, and the company barely made any tweaks to Android to help it accommodate larger screens from other manufacturers. As a result, Google has a lot to catch up on if it wants the Pixel Slate to be competitive. 

When Apple pitched the first iPad, it came with iOS — the same operating system that seems on iPhones. However, in 2019, Apple raised iPad OS, a fork of iOS that caters specifically to iPads.

If Google is brilliant, it will adopt this strategy. The version of Android that arises on smartphones is not optimized for more giant screens. Sure, Google started to fix that with Android 12L, and Android 13 includes all of 12L’s optimizations. But, even when you carry foldable displays into account, a tablet’s screen is not identified as a phone’s.

At Google I/O 2022, the business did make a few announcements of items to its credit; it’s doing to make using an Android tablet a better understanding. One of these is making it more comfortable to find tablet-optimized apps on the Google Play Store. However, Google needs to do a lot more than that if it wants to catch up to Apple’s lead.

The pogo pins on the rear of the Google Pixel Tablet strongly recommend you’ll be able to either attach accessories to the tablet or attach the tablet to other things. The most apparent addition we can think of for this is a keyboard.

However, we’ve seen a bunch of tablet keyboard folios, as first popularized by the Microsoft Surface line. Nowadays, iPads and Galaxy Tabs devices have them, too. People will desire this for sure, but it’s not exactly innovative.

Google is working on a detachable brilliant display system that turns out to be true. Theoretically, this would permit you to attach the Google Pixel Tablet to a base when you desire it to act as an intelligent display. Then, when you want to use it as something else, you would snap it off. It would be something Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung don’t offer. Even Amazon doesn’t have anything, particularly like this.

It would be cool if Google came up with even more ideas. What can’t we do with an iPad? Whatever responses you can come up with for that question, that’s what Google should try to do.

Above, you can see the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. It is a compelling Android tablet with an MSRP of $1,099. Unfortunately, it is the same starting price as the most recent iPad Pro of similar size. If the Google Pixel Tablet lands at a comparable price, it will undoubtedly fail.

Google’s last two attempts at entering the tablet market involved costly hardware. Buyers balked, and they failed. To not make the same mistake for the third time, Google needs to price the Pixel Tablet aggressively.

The standard iPad starts at $329. That’s the price Google should be at least attempting to go for. It needs to get as many people as possible to buy this tablet to build out its hardware ecosystem and prove it can succeed in making an Android tablet people love to use. If it’s too expensive, people won’t give it a chance, and it will be the third round of failure for Google.

Unfortunately, Google referred to the Pixel Tablet as a premium device at Google I/O. Our fingers are crossed that Google doesn’t conflate “premium” with “expensive.” The thing keeping us hopeful is the Pixel 6. That phone is just $600 — a downright steal for what you get — and would be considered a “premium” phone. Still, Google won’t move many of these tablets if an iPad is on the shelf next to it for hundreds less.