Google says Pixel Tablet is NOT a Nest Hub replacement (but it kinda is)

Google Pixel Tablet specs launch at Google I/O 2023
(Image credit: Android Central)

When Google first unveiled the Pixel Tablet at I/O 2022, there was a lot of excitement about what was to come. This is Google's first tablet since the Pixel Slate but has the potential to be as exciting and influential as the Nexus 7.

Instead of focusing on the ever-flailing Android tablet market, Google took a completely different approach. And it all starts with the Charging Speaker Dock that's included in the box and sold separately if you want extras.

Drawing immediate comparisons

Nest Hub Max screen

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Did you know that Google already has a big, touchscreen device with a built-in speaker and a selfie camera? Oh yeah, it's the Nest Hub Max, which has been around since 2019. Naturally, this was the first thing I thought of when Rick Osterloh debuted the Pixel Tablet on stage.

But if you read and listen to Google employees and PR talk about the Pixel Tablet, all of them say this is not a replacement for the Nest Hub. What makes this confusing is all of the focus on how the Pixel Tablet can transform into a smart home hub.

The new 2023 Google Home app on a Pixel Tablet

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Google even went so far as to revamp the software, creating a completely different interface than what you'll find in the Google Home app. It's even built specifically for the Nest Hub Max Pixel Tablet. Hell, Google went so far as to derive the name from its current offering of smart displays, as the Pixel Tablet includes a dedicated "Hub Mode."

With your Pixel Tablet docked, you can activate Hub Mode, giving you all the toggles, previews, and buttons you'll need to control your Google-powered smart home. That's not to mention the built-in Chromecast, which blurs the line even more between the Pixel Tablet and Nest Hub Max.

Android vs. Fuchsia OS

The Google Pixel Tablet and Google Pixel Fold

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Of course, there are two big differentiators between the Pixel Tablet and Nest Hub. The first of which is the fact that the Pixel Tablet is running Android, while the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max are powered by Google's Fuchsia OS. Despite sharing many of the same capabilities, it's not like you can just fire up the Play Store and download an app onto your Nest Hub.

The second major difference is that while Google is including the Charging Speaker Dock, you can use the tablet without the dock. Dock it when you're cleaning the house and want to play some music, then take it off and play some games while you're chilling on the couch. It would be pretty awkward to try and do that with the Nest Hub Max.

Perhaps Google is so adamant about the Pixel Tablet not being a Nest Hub replacement because there's new hardware in the pipeline.

I'm not sitting here and calling Google a liar, as it continues to say that the Pixel Tablet is not a replacement for the Nest Hub. But considering that neither the Nest Hub nor the Nest Hub Max has seen a revision in a few years, it's hard to take Google at face value.

Maybe there's a reason why this point is being driven home so forcefully. Maybe Google has something in store for an event later this year, where it unveils a new line of Nest-branded smart displays and/or speakers. And this is just Google laying the groundwork ahead of time.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.

  • WillysJeepMan
    IMO, Google is just gaslighting everyone by claiming that the Pixel Tablet is not a Nest Hub replacement.

    Exhibit A: charging base included with purchase
    Exhibit B: optional case offers no protection for the screen and has some goofy chrome kickstand (this case is NOT for taking the Google Tablet outside of the home)
    Exhibit C: No first party folio case or keyboard option
  • petvas
    I would argue that Google just focused on tablets as a consumption device. It also added the Hub function that makes the Nest Hub obsolete. I cannot see people buying both. Why would they do that?
    I am happy that there is no keyboard accessory. A tablet should stay a tablet, this is at least my opinion.
  • JasW
    I already have a Nest Hub Max, and the Lenovo Smart Tab w/Google Assistant that I bought to replace my old Pixel C tablet is at death's door. So I need a new tablet, and of course the Pixel Tablet it is. I'll probably move the Nest Hub Max up to my master bathroom, where I currently have a Nest Hub second gen for video and an OG Home speaker for audio.
    petvas said:
    I cannot see people buying both. Why would they do that?