- The upcoming Pixel Tablet might run a 64-bit-only flavor of Android 13.
- The news was spotted in Google’s own code review resources.
Google revealed the existence of the Pixel Tablet back in May 2022, although the slate is only set to launch in 2023. Nevertheless, it’s still noteworthy as it’s the company’s first tablet in several years.
The Pixel Tablet might be an even bigger deal though as Esper editor Mishaal Rahman discovered that the upcoming device could ship with a 64-bit-only version of Android 13. “Move tangor to 64-bit only,” read the relevant line in Google’s code review resource. Tangor is apparently the code name for the Pixel Tablet.
Moving to 64-bit-only Android would be a long-overdue move as Apple’s iOS made this move back in 2017. However, it does mean that 32-bit apps wouldn’t run on the Pixel Tablet. Fortunately, Google has mandated since 2019 that all apps submitted to the Play Store should have 64-bit versions. The Xiaomi/Vivo/Oppo app store alliance in China has also recently announced that all submitted apps need 64-bit versions.
In other words, this transition shouldn’t affect the vast majority of users. But Apple’s transition to 64-bit-only iOS resulted in plenty of long-abandoned games not being playable anymore. So it stands to reason that this could be the case on the Pixel Tablet too (although you should still be able to play them on other Android devices).
This nevertheless comes a while after industry silicon designer Arm launched a raft of 64-bit-only CPU designs for 2023. Arm confirmed that dropping 32-bit support here helps make for smaller, more power-efficient designs. But Google already confirmed that the Pixel Tablet will be powered by the Tensor chipset, which still has 32-bit support.