Since the earliest news of the Pixel Tablet arrived, we all assumed Google would make a simple keyboard and stylus solution for their new, larger-screened device. While perhaps not exactly the use case Google really built the Pixel Tablet for, there’s no denying the fact that some users are going to want to leverage a physical keyboard to get things done from time to time.
As it stands right now, the Pixel Tablet is out in the wild and for the time being, there is no keyboard made by Google for their latest device. To be fair, Google never officially said there would be a keyboard and have clearly built the Pixel Tablet as more of a mid-range tablet that can double as a smart display around the home with multiple users: not as a laptop replacement.
The stylus situation isn’t quite the same. With a few great USI 2.0 pens already on the market, I don’t think too many users are clamoring for Google to deliver on a pen solution right away. And while I do think they need to make their own, custom, aesthetically-matching pen, the need for it isn’t nearly as great as what we see with the keyboard solution.
Why these accessories might still be on the way
There have been a few, previous rumors that suggest Google is still planning (or was palnning at some point) to release both a first-party keyboard and pen. And other than the fact that those accessories have still not arrived, nothing has changed on those fronts. While it is strange that Google wouldn’t launch those things in conjunction with the Pixel Tablet, delays of some sort could have held things back. I guess all I’m saying is, even without this new find from the Pixel factory images, there was still a lingering hope that a keyboard and pen would eventually emerge.
However, in a recent find by developer Pratyush (reported on by Mishaal Rahman) in the Pixel factory images, it looks like there are strings in the current code for the retail demo that point directly to a ‘Keyboard for Pixel Tablet’ and ‘Pen for Pixel Tablet’. While it is possible that these references are to 3rd party hardware, it is very unlikely that this is the case. The other strings in this code point to Google-made hardware, so it would make little to no sense for this to show up if it was somehow referring to non-Google things.
Perhaps with Google’s move to improve both the desktop environment and stylus abilities in Android 14 (that should ship in a couple months), we could see these accessories show up in that time frame. While first-party accessories usually ship at the same time as the device they work with, I suppose a release of these two items makes more sense alongside Android 14 with the improvements that are on the way.
And I have to admit, I’d be a lot more interested in the Pixel Tablet if that was the case. As it stands right now, I think Google made a cool product that shipped out a bit too late. We’re in a strange spot with smart home devices, the Google Assistant, and smart displays. And I don’t really know how it will all shake out. If some of that smart speaker/display market is fading out a bit, an option for a keyboard would make a lot of sense for the Pixel Tablet moving forward. We should know something for sure sooner than later.