Upcoming Google Pixel Tablet could copy a powerful iPad OS feature

A picture of the Pixel Tablet from the back, housed in its dock
(Image credit: Google)

Google’s upcoming Pixel Tablet is set to arrive packing the latest connectivity tech, including ultra-wideband support (UWB), based on a regulatory listing spotted online.

An FCC (US Federal Communications Commission) listing for a ‘Google-made hand-held device’ was spotted by 9to5Google, which speculates that UWB support could be used to enable features like digital handoff for audio; that is, tapping your phone to transfer the audio stream via a supported app or enabling it to tap into Google’s reported Find My network rival.

For clarification, the listing doesn’t say that the device in question is a Pixel Tablet – rather it identifies a ‘Google-made hand-held device that doesn’t support cellular capabilities’. That’s either a hint that Google’s planning on building the next iPod, or it's the Pixel Tablet the company already announced a year ago which should be.

 Building a rival ecosystem 

More than just being considered simply a Nest Hub replacement, Google could be considering the tablet form factor as the center of your digital life. In other words, the Nest Hub features are simply additions to further this goal, rather than its entire raison d’etre.

With its Android 12L and Android 13 updates, Google began investing heavily in Android device interconnectivity. Partly due to this, we got a small trickle of Android tablets that highlighted this Apple handoff-style interconnectivity (enabled by UWB), as part of their appeal – the upcoming OnePlus Pad stands out as an example of an Android manufacturer jumping into the tablet market for that reason.

The key question remains whether Google can go further than Apple, rather than simply copying this key feature. The company’s most ambitious cross-device features hint at a significant deviation, with Chromebooks set to soon gain the ability to stream apps from Android phones (albeit a year later than Google’s 2022 announcement implied). That’s also a feature the as-yet-unreleased OnePlus Pad boasts, and one that Google could highlight with its Pixel Tablet.

Combine that with a Nest Hub-style dock, a large screen that lets you locate all your devices, and powerful speakers – so your music can shine, and you get a feel for the potential a Pixel Tablet could have.

We’ll learn more about Google’s cross-device plans at Google I/O in May 2023, but we’re already excited for the potential, as more information trickles out. 

Michael Allison
Staff Writer, Phones

A UK-based tech journalist for TechRadar, helping keep track and make sense of the fast-paced world of tech with a primary focus on mobile phones, tablets, and wearables.

When not writing on TechRadar, I can often be found reading fiction, writing for fun, or working out.