Pixel Tablet Q&A: Why face unlock or Nest Cam missing, other third-party app updates, upcoming features

Following Tuesday’s launch, Google hosted an extensive Q&A today that addressed many questions about the Pixel Tablet.

No face unlock or Nest Cam

The Pixel Tablet does not have Face Unlock as the front facing camera does not have DPAF (Dual Pixel Auto Focus):

Unfortunately it will be tough for the Pixel Tablet given the specs of the front camera, but we have seen that the fingerprint sensor (integrated into the power button) works very well for our users.

Likewise, unlike the Nest Hub Max, that front lens can’t act as a Nest Cam “because of the narrow width of the front camera and because the tablet wouldn’t always be docked.”

We have no plans at this time. As mentioned in another comment, this was discussed a bit within the team, but ultimately we decided that due to the narrow width of the front facing camera and as the tablet would not be docked all the time, we would not go with this use case at launch.

Google has said that “the camera software under the hood is designed by the same team that builds the camera goodness into our phones.”

Nest Doorbell alerts coming soon

See who’s at the door when someone rings the doorbell coming soon to Pixel Tablet! We introduced the feature in our Home Panel blog post.

More Hub Mode features coming soon

We focused on the Nest Hub’s most loved features for our initial launch: Photo Frame, smart home control, Chromecast built-in, and hands-free help with the Assistant. But this is only the beginning: stay tuned for more!

Lack of cellular model

The Pixel Tablet focuses on a great tablet experience at home, where tablets are used the most (though they’re also great on the go, from airplanes to Wi-Fi coffee shops).

More Pixel Tablet accessories are on the way

Presumably through the Made for Google certification program:

We are working to increase the choice of covers you will have available over time. Stay tuned!

At launch in more countries

One of the more interesting answers concerned how Google determines which countries to launch in. It depends on customer support.

We would love to have Pixel Tablet in more countries, but we have to do it when we know we can fully support customers in the country. Ensuring robust language support, supporting a returns and exchanges program, and partnering with in-market resellers are just a few examples of what we need to do to ensure great support for our users. We strive to have as many products in as many countries as possible and hope to get to yours soon.

Google working with “best apps” on tablet optimizations, more to come

We work with many of the best apps on Android to optimize their apps for large screens! Examples of some of the best apps that work great on the Pixel tablet include Whatsapp, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Peloton, Disney+ and more. We’re continuing to work with more third-party apps and look forward to seeing more updates from them.

The apps we announced for optimization were just the beginning, and we’ll be working on more over time.

On how continuous audio transfer works

We had to solve some pretty challenging technical problems to get the experience right, from developing new acoustic echo cancellation algorithms that synchronize the clocks on tablets and docks, to developing new technology to ensure audio moves without problems between devices.

Give Adaptive Brightness a few days to learn

As for the brightness, I suggest you leave the adaptive for a few more days. Pixel devices use machine learning to adapt to your brightness preferences over time as you continue to use them. Once locked in, adaptive brightness reverts to a default level that suits the ambient brightness level.

About the Pixel Slate lineage

When asked how the company approached the Pixel Tablet versus the Pixel Slate, Google’s response suggests that the ChromeOS device didn’t have a unique enough differentiator.

For this device, we’ve learned a number of lessons from the Pixel Slate. Importantly, we wanted to create a tablet that offers our users something unique. Most tablets stay in the house and are used in the home. So we’re designing tablets to exist in that space and to integrate seamlessly with the rest of Google’s hardware and the Android ecosystem. We also thought about how the Pixel portfolio of devices works alongside Pixel phones, Pixel Watches, and Pixel Buds — it wasn’t complete without a tablet. So we created a tablet that completes the family and is uniquely Google.

On European prices

Google claims the Pixel Tablet is “competitively priced” in Europe. The $499 128GB model costs 679 in France. For comparison, a $449 10th-generation iPad costs 589.

Our prices in European countries are inclusive of VAT, while our prices in the USA are not. We believe we are competitively priced in Europe against comparable tablets in this category, but are always looking for ways to improve and appreciate your feedback!

We cannot go into detail on how we rate our products, but we strive to price them as competitively as possible against other products in the same category. There are also occasionally taxes that we need to consider: As mentioned in another answer, our prices in the European region are inclusive of VAT, while our prices in the US are not. We believe they are competitively priced in Europe compared to comparable tablets in this category.

UWB extension

As the company previously told us, UWB will be enabled at a later date. This will presumably allow you to tap to transfer media played on your phone to the tablet. There is currently a toggle in Settings.

It will be used for future features that will allow the tablet to communicate with other UWB-enabled devices, such as the Pixel 7 Pro. We currently have no news to share, but stay tuned for updates 🙂


  • The company says it’s “dedicated to continually improving Google Assistant,” which was “definitely front and center” during the development process.
  • For completing this question and answer session, your Pixel Tablet will get reductions in functionality. Overall, Google has been surprisingly thorough in responding to common criticisms.

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