This past week’s Google event showed off quite a few products, but none caught my attention quite like the Google Pixel Tablet. The device looks just like a Nest Home Hub, but that’s by design. It can be detached from its base and carried around the house, but upon connection to the speaker dock, it transforms into a smart home device.
I’ve been asking for a new version of the Nest Hub, and Google delivered — although not exactly in the way I expected. It also brought another, much-beloved device to mind: the Echo Show 15.
Could the Pixel Tablet be a smart hub on par with the Echo Show 15? I’m not sure. Google has been tight-lipped on details about the tablet, revealing little outside of its design. We know it’s powered by the Tensor G2 chip, and that Google calls it “the best way to experience Android on a tablet.” Outside of that, nada. I don’t even know the size of the Pixel Tablet, although the pictures do suggest it’s maybe 10 inches in size.
Google lags behind Amazon in the smart home market, but not by much. Nest even quietly announced a new video doorbell at this week’s event, although it didn’t get a lot of fanfare. Most of that was focused on the redesigned Home app.
It’s my opinion that the reason Google isn’t quite on the same level is due to their smart displays. When it comes to smart home, it’s all about the assistant, and Alexa is more useful than Google Assistant. The Echo Show 10 and Echo Show 15, along with being different in size, target two different audiences. The Echo Show 10 is ideal for video conferencing and can even pan to follow a speaker across the room. The Echo Show 15 is targeted as a family hub and a kitchen device, just as useful at showing content as it is at displaying a recipe.
The Nest Hub is much smaller, with only a 7-inch screen. Even the Nest Hub Max, the bigger, bulkier cousin of the Nest Hub, is only 10 inches. The lack of screen size (or the ability to pan, display widgets, and other useful traits) makes the Echo Show a better choice overall.
The Pixel Tablet might change all of that. Right now, it’s pure speculation. Without any real specifications, I don’t know the full capabilities of the tablet, but the ability to carry a smart assistant around makes it more useful than a stationary assistant. The Pixel Tablet could be a great help in the kitchen, and it could be equally as useful for video conferencing.
I won’t know more until the Pixel Tablet releases, or at least until Google announces the full technical specs ahead of release. I’m hopeful the Pixel Tablet lives up to what I expect. It looks great, and while it might not be able to do exactly what Alexa can do, it could have access to the full suite of Google apps. Imagine the potential integrations between Sheets or Docs and Google Assistant in the home.
It might even prompt Amazon to produce a detachable tablet of its own. The basic structure already exists with the Fire Tablet, and the successor to the Echo Show 15 could be just the place to debut something like that.
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