Google Pixel C Stakes a Claim as Hybrid Tablet Market Contender

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-12-09
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Google Pixel C Stakes a Claim as Hybrid Tablet Market Contender
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    Google Pixel C Stakes a Claim as Hybrid Tablet Market Contender

    Google joins the hybrid computer fray with its two-in-one Pixel C. Does the Android-based device have the features to be a legitimate contender in the space?
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    Pixel C Is Not a Chromebook
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    Pixel C Is Not a Chromebook

    Google has decided not to bundle Chrome OS with the Pixel C as another model in its Chromebook lineup. The Pixel C is an Android-based hybrid that's capable of acting as a tablet and a notebook depending on how users need to use the device. Google's Chromebooks may be popular, but the company has opted for Android with this release.
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    The Key Feature: It's Really a Hybrid
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    The Key Feature: It's Really a Hybrid

    Straight out of the box, the Pixel C is a tablet as it ships only with the USB Type-C charger and Quick Start Guide. But Google has made it clear that it was designed it to be a hybrid. More specifically, the device, which was built by Google, is designed to connect to a full-sized keyboard. To get the full Pixel C experience, in other words, you need to buy an add-on keyboard.
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    Important Information About the Keyboard
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    Important Information About the Keyboard

    So important is the Pixel C keyboard attachment that Google created a section for it on the device's homepage. As noted, the Pixel C is a large tablet with a 10.2-inch display and it connects to the keyboard via Bluetooth. In addition, it has an adjustable stand component that allows users to prop up the screen at anywhere between 100 to 135 degrees. Perhaps most importantly, the keyboard is powered by inductive charging provided by the Pixel C, so no charger or cable is required. Google is selling the Pixel C Keyboard for $149.
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    Google Play Integration Is a Key Feature
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    Google Play Integration Is a Key Feature

    One of the main reasons Google may have decided to bundle Android with the Pixel C is its integration with Google Play. The Google Play marketplace has over 1 million applications, including many that prospective owners are already using every day with their current Android-based devices. Having that many apps available is essential to making the Pixel C an attractive option to consumers and business users.
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    All About the Screen
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    All About the Screen

    The Pixel C's 10.2-inch display delivers 2,560-by-1,800 resolution. According to Google, the screen features 308 pixels per inch and, as one might expect, full touch support. At that size, the Pixel C's screen is slightly larger than Apple's iPad Air 2, but smaller than the Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro.
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    Nvidia Tegra XI Provides Processing Power
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    Nvidia Tegra XI Provides Processing Power

    In terms of processing power, the Pixel C is solid, but not groundbreaking. The hybrid runs on the Nvidia Tegra XI 64-bit processor and has 3GB of RAM to handle app loading. In addition, users will find a Maxwell GPU to handle more graphics-intensive features. All in all, the device appears to be a reasonably powerful option for anyone seeking a solid tablet or hybrid experience.
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    There's an Auto-Charge Mode
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    There's an Auto-Charge Mode

    According to Google, the Pixel C has a feature called Auto-Charge Mode. So, when the device is in the closed position, it automatically determines the amount of battery life in the keyboard and uses the aforementioned inductive charging to keep its juice up. With help from magnets, the components neatly sit atop each other, similar to the way a screen would cover a keyboard in a notebook. Google says that should make it easier to carry around while the keyboard is being charged.
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    There's No Getting Away From the Ubiquitous Google Apps
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    There's No Getting Away From the Ubiquitous Google Apps

    Like Apple, Google has its fair share of apps that it bundles with all of the products it sells. The Pixel C is no different. As soon as users break open the device, they will find all of the familiar Google applications, including Search, Chrome, Gmail, YouTube and others. Those who enjoy the Google apps experience will like what they find in the Pixel C.
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    The Other Specs That Matter
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    The Other Specs That Matter

    Aside from the major features, there are several important specs to consider before deciding to buy the Pixel C. For one, it uses the USB-C type connector for charging. In addition, the device comes with either 32GB or 64GB of storage and has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera in addition to a 2-megapixel front-facing sensor. The device features 802.11ac WiFi and is built from anodized aluminum to safeguard it from small spills. Google claims its battery can last over 10 hours on a single charge.
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    A Look at Pricing, Availability
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    A Look at Pricing, Availability

    The Pixel C is available now to customers who are looking to buy the Android-based hybrid. The device is $499 for those who want the 32GB model. Customers looking for 64GB of onboard storage can get their hands on it for $599. And as noted, for the full hybrid experience, customers will need to shell out another $149 for the keyboard.
 

The number of companies getting into the two-in-one hybrid market continues to grow. Google has now joined the fray with the launch of its Pixel C, an Android-based device that doubles as a tablet and notebook for those who like the concept of a physical keyboard connected to a slate. The device, which was first introduced in September, is strikingly similar to Microsoft's Surface Pro and Apple's iPad Pro, both of which offer big screens and solid features for a price that's relatively affordable. Unsurprisingly, Google believes that its option is better than competing hybrid tablets, but it's important to note that its runs Android, a less-sophisticated operating system than Windows 10, certainly in terms of enterprise application support. And depending on what tablet buyers are seeking in a new device, it may not deliver as much power as some would like. Still, the Google Pixel C is a notable new addition to the hybrid market, which calls for a closer look. This slide show takes a deep dive into the device to consider the factors that may make it a strong entry in the mobile computer market.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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