September 29, 2015
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For months now, there have been rumors floating around about Google not having a tablet offering for 2015, though the assumption has been that there would be no new Nexus to sell. Rumors had popped up of a purported 8-inch device, however they were quickly written off and forgotten. Those longing for a new tablet need not fret, as today Google has announced a somewhat unprecedented product: the Pixel Convertible, known simply as the Pixel C.

The Pixel series, for those who follow Chromebooks, has been previously used only for the most premium offerings, and manufactured and sold directly through Google itself. The Pixel C follows in the tradition of being a high spec, high performance, high price device, though in the case it’s running Android 6.0 Marshmallow as opposed to ChromeOS.

The Pixel C features a 2560X1800 10.2-inch screen with 308ppi, 500 nits of brightness, and sRGB color gamut. It has an Nvidia X1 SoC with Maxwell GPU, 3GB of LPRDD4 RAM, and either 32GB or 64GB of on-board storage. It will make use of USB Type C, is made of aluminum, and as mentioned earlier, will ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. As per the Pixel laptop series, the device also includes an LED strip that can be double tapped to indicate battery life.

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One accessory has been announced so far, an aluminum keyboard which can attach to the tablet in a Microsoft Surface/Apple iPad Pro-type fashion via magnets and connects to the system via Bluetooth. Google has indicated the accessory is the same size as a standard keyboard due to some strategic rearrangement of keys and use of the tablet’s touch screen. It should make for a very comfortable user experience.

The device will retail for $499 (32GB) or $599 (64GB) and will be available for purchase by the end of the year. The keyboard will retail for $149.

A curious creation

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The Pixel C is, oddly enough the only real “secret” that came out of Google’s PR event today, as the pair of Nexus devices as well as the refreshed Chromecast dongle had been leaked significantly. The tablet remained essentially unknown until the past 24 hours.

While the Pixel moniker will be sure to excite those interested in high specs and a truly premium product, there is an air of curiosity present as Google has clearly sought to select a branding rather unfamiliar to the general public as opposed to using the Nexus designation that has been employed for years.

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Behold the Pixel C’s keyboard size comparison with a standard-issue typing device.

One possibility might be that the Pixel C is meant to stand in stark contrast to the ill-received Nexus 9 that launched last year. The device, while certainly a fantastic piece of kit, was beleaguered by build quality issues and a clear lack of premium construction despite being made by HTC. Given that Project Tango is also marketed separately from the Nexus line, this could indicate that Google itself may start to branch out and create devices that extend beyond the branding, or it just as well could be a one off to test the waters for something else entirely.

Despite the phablet cannibalization, various commentary around the internet had indicated a desire for a simple Nexus 7 refresh. It will be interesting to see how the device fares in a very crowded market with slugging sales. At the very least the use of a widescreen resolution – as opposed to the Nexus 9’s 4:3 – will please some purchasers, and the size clearly makes it stand out from the big-screen phone territory.

It will also be interesting to see how well the device does on-the-whole considering that Samsung has been offering productivity-oriented tablets for years now, including last year’s Galaxy Note PRO that supports the S-Pen and even the new Galaxy Tab S2 which has an optional touch cover. Whereas both the Microsoft Surface Pro and Apple iPad Pro have stylus support, the Pixel C – at the moment – does not, and therefore stands to offer a much more traditional business experience.

What are your thoughts on this particular product? Does it meet demands for a new tablet offering this year or has Google possibly made a mistake in pricing it at such a premium point? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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