Opinion: My mother will love the Google Pixel Tablet

Happy mother's day to all Google fans

Google’s stuffed the Google I/O 2023 with generative AI so much that I will get nightmares about my job being taken over by prompt-based AIs in the future but let’s not sing doom and gloom about the next stage in technology. If anything, I can use the generative AI as a tool to speed up my work but that’s a conversation for another day. Right now, I want to tell you about something I am sure will and should be copied by Apple, Amazon and other tablet manufacturers — The Google Pixel Tablet and its clever, clever integration with the charging speaker dock.

While Apple loves making powerful processors and slick UI systems, it’s barely put elbow grease into reinventing traditional use cases of existing technology. iPhones became cameras, iPads became MacBooks and MacBooks became Intel’s worse nightmare. There’s nothing wrong with Apple's approach to technology, it's safe and reliable and I love that but I am beginning to love Google’s approach too.

It was teased last year and I am still enamoured by what the Google Pixel Tablet can do. It’s simple and so intuitive. It’s a tablet in your hand and a smart home screen when you place it on the dock. Google even made an ad with a mum and a child showcasing who this technology is for — mums and dads who don’t want a productivity powerhouse but a dumb machine that does smart things.

I digress. I can’t call the Google Pixel Tablet dumb… yet. It’s got a Tensor G2 processor from last year so calling it smarter than a fifth-grader should be ideal. Although it’s never going to win an argument with my Editor who will eventually ask ‘Can you edit videos on it?’. That’s precisely why I think Google Pixel Tablet is for people who don’t want anything to do with productivity. 

My parents want a simple tablet that can play Netflix, indulge their doom-scrolling tendencies and become a smart speaker to play the radio. My mom still loves how the radio engaged her mood with curated playlists and human voices. Spotify, YouTube Music and Apple Music are made for people who adapt to shifting technological advancements, so not for boomers, right? 

Regardless of what the choice of users is around tablets and smartphones, it’s certain that tech products are overindulging in productivity and less in expanding user preferences and age demographics. It’s as if every tech product is made to make me work better, faster and be more useful to my employer rather than just observing my cat’s photos on my desk on an inconspicuous tablet with a smart home sheen.  

What surprised me the most was that Xiaomi, OnePlus, Samsung, Lenovo and Amazon are racing to make the best productivity tablet but not the most versatile one. Even after Google announced the Pixel Tablet and its charging speaker dock a year ago. These brands didn’t bother copying this idea and I was expecting to see a similar product at CES or at MWC but I am hopeful. Technology always finds a way to appeal to everyone and if someone can put Google’s idea into a affordable price point, India will embrace it. I reckon the Pixel Tablet may perform badly with critics who want faster everything so as to judge the capabilities of technology based on plausible metrics but most customers are not reviewers and some just want to watch Netflix on their couch and then stick the damn thing on a charger and play music. As it happens, that’s exactly what my mum wants and now we can all happily ignore the overengineered Amazon Echo Show 10.