The Pixel Tablet’s new media casting feature seems great, but I’ll never use it

# The Pixel Tablet’s New Media Casting Feature: A Look into Its Potential and Limitations

Google recently unveiled a new feature at CES, allowing users to cast music streams from certain Pixel phones to the Pixel Tablet by holding the phone near the docked tablet. While this functionality received positive feedback for its seamless integration, there are limitations that may deter potential users.

➤ The Feature in Action
The new feature enables users of compatible Pixel phones, including the Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, Pixel Fold, and Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, to transfer their music stream to a docked Pixel Tablet by bringing the two devices close to each other. Upon proximity, the phone vibrates and prompts the user to confirm the transfer, after which the music begins playing on the Pixel Tablet.

➤ Limitations and Concerns
Although the seamless handoff mechanism is impressive, the feature’s compatibility is initially limited to audio streams from YouTube Music and Spotify, omitting support for other audio and video services. Furthermore, the integration is solely confirmed for the Pixel Tablet, with no immediate plans for it to extend to Google’s smart displays or speakers. This can be disappointing for users who prefer to enjoy their audio content on other cast-enabled devices not manufactured by Google.

The restricted compatibility is attributed to the requirement of ultra-wideband (UWB) radios in both the Pixel Tablet and compatible Pixel phones for precise short-range location tracking. This technology allows the devices to discern each other’s physical proximity accurately. The absence of UWB in older Nest smart displays may hinder the extension of this feature to other Google devices.

➤ The Future Outlook and Potential Improvements
There is speculation about whether Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, which have some positioning utility, could be utilized for a similar proximity-based media hand-off feature. However, UWB’s purpose-built precision might be challenging to replicate with these technologies. Google may consider addressing this limitation by exploring UWB compatibility for its older smart speakers or introducing a new generation of speakers equipped with UWB for effortless music casting.

➤ Conclusion
The new media casting feature demonstrates Google’s commitment to enhancing its ecosystem integration, offering a seamless user experience for Pixel device owners. However, the limitations may restrict its appeal to users who prefer diverse audio sources and wish to cast content to a broader range of Google devices. As Google continues to innovate in the smartphone and smart home domain, addressing these limitations may result in a more inclusive and compelling user experience.


➤ Which Pixel phones are compatible with the new media casting feature?

The new media casting feature is compatible with newer Pixel phones, including the Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, Pixel Fold, and Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.

➤ Will the feature support video streaming in the future?

At launch, the feature will support only audio streaming from YouTube Music and Spotify, with no immediate plans for video service compatibility.

➤ Can I use the media casting feature with other Google smart devices?

The current integration is solely confirmed for the Pixel Tablet, with no immediate plans for extension to other Google smart displays or speakers.

➤ Are there plans to enable UWB compatibility for older Google smart speakers?

Google has not disclosed plans for enabling ultra-wideband (UWB) compatibility for older smart speakers but may consider it in the future.

Make the Most of Your Pixel Tablet’s Features!
If you’re eager to enhance your Pixel experience and have other Google smart devices, while also enjoying diverse audio and video sources, stay tuned for potential updates and improvements that may expand the capabilities of the media casting feature.

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