Google takes on iPad Pro and Surface with the Android-running Pixel C
Google introduced the Pixel C tablet, its apparent answer to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Apple's iPad Pro, at an event in San Francisco Tuesday morning. The slate will run Android Marshmallow rather than Chrome OS, works with an optional magnetic Bluetooth keyboard and is cheaper than its leading competitors.
The "C" is for "convertible," so long as you spring for the US$149 to buy the Pixel C's adjustable magnetic Bluetooth keyboard that docks without need of a kickstand or clasp.
The Pixel C has a 10.2-inch display, notably smaller than the 12-incher on the Surface Pro 3 and the 12.9-inch display on the iPad Pro (making it a bit undersized for a laptop, but not so unwieldy as a tablet) The screen has 2,560 x 1,800 resolution (308 pixels per inch), and the devices runs on an Nvidia Tegra X1 system-on-a-chip with Maxell GPU and 3 GB of RAM.
Notably, Google is building this tablet itself rather than going through a hardware partner as it does for Nexus devices.
The keyboard is tucked right up next to the touchscreen when it's docked, which Google says is an optimization to allow easy transitions between typing and touching the screen. It even went so far as to move a handful of lesser-used symbol keys from the physical keyboard on to the touch display.
In tablet mode, the magnetic keyboard can stow itself by attaching to the back of the tablet. When the Pixel C isn't in use, the keyboard attaches to the front of the tablet and functions as a cover while being simultaneously charged.
Google said this setup allows for "great battery life," while offering a dubious lack of any specifics.
Other key specs on the Pixel C include 4 microphones to help with across-the-room voice commands, USB-C connection and Android Marshmallow with software updates promised every six weeks.
This tablet isn't available just yet and Google seemed to tack it on as a bonus teaser announcement at the end of a presentation focused on new Nexus phones and Chromecast dongles. The company promises it will be available before the holiday season, starting at $499 for a 32 GB model or $599 for 64 GB. The magnetic keyboard is sold separately for $149.