Google's Pixel C Is A Powerful Convertible Tablet Running Android 6.0

Subject: Mobile | October 2, 2015 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: Tegra X1, tablet, pixel, nvidia, google, android 6.0, Android

During its latest keynote event, Google unveiled the Pixel C, a powerful tablet with optional keyboard that uses NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 SoC and runs the Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” operating system.

The Pixel C was designed by the team behind the Chromebook Pixel. Pixel C features an anodized aluminum body that looks (and reportedly feels) smooth with clean lines and rounded corners. The tablet itself is 7mm thick and weighs approximately one pound. The front of the Pixel C is dominated by a 10.2” display with a resolution of 2560 x 1800 (308 PPI, 500 nits brightness), wide sRGB color gamut, and 1:√2 aspect ratio (which Google likened to the size and aspect ratio of an A4 sheet of paper). A 2MP front camera sits above the display while four microphones sit along the bottom edge and a single USB Type-C port and two stereo speakers sit on the sides of the tablet. Around back, there is an 8MP rear camera and a bar of LED lights that will light up to indicate the battery charge level after double tapping it.

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The keyboard is an important part of the Pixel C, and Google has given it special attention to make it part of the package. The keyboard attaches to the tablet using self-aligning magnets that are powerful enough to keep the display attached while holding it upside down and shaking it (not that you'd want to do that, mind you). It can be attached to the bottom of the tablet for storage and used like a slate or you can attach the tablet to the back of the keyboard and lift the built-in hinge to use the Pixel C in laptop mode (the hinge can hold the display at anywhere from 100 to 135-degrees). The internal keyboard battery is good for two months of use, and can be simply recharged by closing the Pixel C like a laptop and allowing it to inductively charge from the tablet portion. The keyboard is around 2mm thick and is nearly full size at 18.85mm pitch and the chiclet keys have a 1.4mm travel that is similar to that of the Chromebook Pixel. There is no track pad, but it does offer a padded palm rest which is nice to see.

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Internally, the Pixel C is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra X1 SoC, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB or 64GB of storage (depending on model). The 20nm Tegra X1 consists of four ARM Cortex A57 and four Cortex A53 CPU cores paired with a 256-core Maxwell GPU. The Pixel C is a major design win for NVIDIA, and the built in GPU will be great for gaming on the go.

The Pixel C will be available in December ("in time for the holidays") for $499 for the base 32 GB model, $599 for the 64 GB model, and $149 for the keyboard.

First impressions, such as this hands-on by Engadget, seem to be very positive stating that it is sturdy yet sleek hardware that feels comfortable typing on. While the hardware looks more than up to the task, the operating system of choice is a concern for me. Android is not the most productivity and multi-tasking friendly software. There are some versions of Android that enable multiple windows or side-by-side apps, but it has always felt rather clunky and limited in its usefulness. With that said, Computer World's  JR Raphael seems hopeful. He points out that the Pixel C is, in Batman fashion, not the hardware Android wants, but the hardware that Android needs (to move forward) and is primed for a future of Android that is more friendly to such productive endeavors. Development versions of Android 6.0 included support for multiple apps running simultaneously side-by-side, and while that feature will not make the initial production code cut, it does show that it is something that Google is looking into pursuing and possibly enabling at some point. The Pixel C has an excellent aspect ratio to take advantage of the app splitting with the ability to display four windows each with the same aspect ratio.

I am not sure how well received the Pixel C will be by business users who have several convertible tablet options running Windows and Chrome OS. It certainly gives the iPad-and-keyboard combination a run for its money and is a premium alternative to devices like the Asus Transformers.

What do you think about the Pixel C, and in particular, it running Android?

Even if I end up being less-than-productive using it, I think I'd still want the sleek-looking hardware as a second machine, heh.

Source: Google

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October 2, 2015 | 09:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Will this still use the ancient emmc flash that read writes slower then molasses in winter? Talking like 10-25 kbs last tablet I had was the Asus TF700 and it ran so slow thought transferring files it would time out or lose connection because it was taking so long.

October 3, 2015 | 12:32 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

I do not have any info, but yes I'm assuming it is some form of eMMC storage. Hopefully it's faster than that!

October 2, 2015 | 11:08 PM - Posted by johnc (not verified)

I don't see them selling many of these. It's pretty expensive, especially with the keyboard. The X1 is last year's technology today. Maybe Google is just not timing their product launches with new tech (or, more likely, they just don't care).

And somebody explain to me why they still make tablets without front-facing speakers? It's probably the most annoying thing about the tablet I have now.

The display looks pretty good, especially the size and the aspect ratio.

October 2, 2015 | 11:10 PM - Posted by johnc (not verified)

I think this would have been better as a Chromebook; but even then, one might as well wait for 14nm at this stage.

October 3, 2015 | 12:16 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Mention Nvidia a few more times. jeeze

October 3, 2015 | 03:31 AM - Posted by JohnGR

Nice to see NVIDIA Tegra X1 being alive. It will push the other companies to not stop improving their GPUs. 6-8-10-12-100 cores are not bad, as long as there is also a good GPU in that SOC.

October 3, 2015 | 10:59 AM - Posted by mrvco (not verified)

So this is in effect a Nexus 10 w/ optional keyboard cover?

October 3, 2015 | 12:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

SD card slot?

October 3, 2015 | 01:19 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

No Micro SD card slot :/

October 3, 2015 | 03:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Google's cloud and all the personal metrics sniffing, instead of an SD card slot and more control over your hardware. I'm waiting for a full Linux based tablet, but the big Ad pushers want to control your eyeballs and what ads they see. I'd buy my first tablet as soon a Valve brands a Steam OS based tablet with plenty of RAM memory, and an SD card slot! It's time for some tablet hardware and tablet OSs that can be purchased without the closed software ecosystem ties that bind users to any megacorp's continuous revenue streams, and until then Tablets will remain nothing more than an appliances!

October 3, 2015 | 03:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Google doesn't believe in local storage. It's really not in their best interest.

October 3, 2015 | 02:40 PM - Posted by NamelessTed

While it looks nice I don't see any reason why somebody would buy this over an entry level Surface 3. I guess if the only thing you will ever use your tablet for is web browsing and email then whatever. But Windows 10 is obviously a way more useful OS that Android is.

October 3, 2015 | 04:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

to bad it doesn't come with a real OS

October 4, 2015 | 05:55 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There's always xda as I'm sure this thing is capable of Linux my older then dirt TF700 ran unbuntu horribly but it ran lol I'm expecting this to run Linux just fine if we can create Drivers for gpu it'd be nice although at $600 could get labtop to do it better.

October 4, 2015 | 06:08 PM - Posted by MarkT (not verified)

I wish it had anybody but a Nvidia chip

October 4, 2015 | 06:08 PM - Posted by MarkT (not verified)


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