The Pixel Tablet is one of the best Android tablets out there, and companies like Microsoft could learn a thing or two
The Surface Pro 8 is one of my go-to devices. Like the best Windows tablets, they are lightweight and easy to carry and enjoy Windows 11 on the go. Recently, I found myself using one of the best Android tablets out there: the Google Pixel Tablet.
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When I’m not working on my PC, it’s become one of my go-to devices because of the speakerphone and Android flexibility. But by using the Pixel Tablet and Surface Pro 8 side by side, it’s clear that Microsoft could learn a thing or two from Google’s latest efforts.
1 Move the position of the pogo pin to get extras
The main reason I love my Pixel Tablet is the speaker port, which is connected to the pogo pin on the back. Currently, the Surface Pro 8 has the same pin, but it’s on on the ground for the device, and is for keyboards only. I’d like to see Microsoft take inspiration from Google and move the pin to the back of the next Surface.
It would be nice to have a wireless storage area with USB-C ports, USB-A ports, and HDMI ports when my Surface is connected to a monitor. Of course, we have devices like the Surface Dock for this, but this connects to the Surface Connect dock. Moving the pin back would unlock new features – projectors, speakers, USB ports, you name it.
2 Small tablets can work and comfortable to use
The next thing is a familiar thing. The Surface Pro 8 may be a tablet, but it’s big, at about 11.3 inches in length. On the other hand, the Pixel Tablet is more compact at 10.16 inches. Using my Pixel Tablet while sitting on the couch and casually surfing the web is a great way to remind me that not every tablet has to be big. It’s just as easy to carry a small tablet in your hand as you would a phone.
I know Microsoft already has the Surface Go 3, which is about 9.65 inches, but there was a day when Windows tablets were smaller than that. Remember the days of Windows 8? There were many 8-inch tablets like the Dell Venue 8 Pro. With Windows 11 now being graced with tablets with features like a falling screen, it’s time for Microsoft to remember the old days. Bigger doesn’t always mean better.
3 Can Windows Copilot be like Google Assistant?
Another great feature of the Pixel Tablet is integration with Google Assistant. Connected to the speaker port, I can ask all my questions about the weather, sports, and more. All of this was something I could do on my Surface (many years ago) with Cortana. But the assistant was also left behind on Windows, making Windows tablets less useful as smart devices.
It’s true that you can download and use Alexa, but it’s a third-party app. Microsoft no longer has its own virtual assistant. But will Windows Copilot one day take over Cortana? At least for now, it doesn’t support voice input and only works with voice, but with the help of Bing Chat and AI, could Microsoft turn Copilot into its own Google Assistant? Only time will tell.
Many software tweaks can make Windows more useful as a smart device
All that said, I wonder if Microsoft is thinking about a future where tablets can double as smart displays. We have already seen Microsoft testing a way to pin the widget board full screen in Windows 11 build 23521. Imagine using it as a typeface and see your important information quickly. The basics are there, and the Pixel tablet is doing so well, it’s possible Microsoft could launch its own product soon.