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9 months ago

Why the Pixel C isn't yet a 'productivity' device

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Pixel C and Macbook Pro

The inclusion of a keyboard doesn't automatically make an Android tablet more productive. The software still has a long way to go.

We've chatted a bit of late over whether "productivity" is a thing — and especially whether it's a thing companies should be using to market their products. And I'm inclined to agree with Russell — whether I'm productive with a thing depends more on me than it does the thing I'm using.

But this much is clear when it comes to the new Pixel C: It's not any more of a productive device than the Nexus 9 is. Never mind the 3 billion (plus or minus) extra processing cores. Never mind magnets. Never mind keyboards. And never mind the awesome Googley LED on the back, which might be solely responsible for 50 percent of my lost work-hours the past several weeks.

I'm not any more productive with the Pixel C for a single reason, and it's one that has absolutely nothing to with any of the hardware.

It has to do with multitasking.

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9 months ago

Pixel C video review

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You've already read our comprehensive Pixel C review, now gaze upon our video review.

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9 months ago

Google Pixel C vs Dell Venue 10 7000 Series: an Android tablet keyboard showdown

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Google's first in-house tablet is very pretty, but far from an original idea.

There's a lot of excitement surrounding the shiny new Pixel C from Google, and with good reason. It's a spec powerhouse, it's running the latest and greatest version of Android, and it is so damn pretty. A big selling point for this tablet is its keyboard, which connects to the tablet with a series of powerful magnets and even receives power from the tablet when docked in a closed position. All told, the Pixel C has no shortage of clever but right this moment the software still stumbles to deliver a complete thought.

If that sounds familiar, it's because we said almost the exact same thing about another clever Android tablet/keyboard combo that was released earlier this year. Dell's Venue 10 7000 Series and Google's Pixel C have a lot in common, and choosing between the two really comes down to what functions you're most willing to sacrifice in order to get an Android-powered almost-laptop.

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9 months ago

Pixel C review

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The quick take

It's easy when reviewing a device to get distracted by what the product could have been, or what it maybe was supposed to have been, rather than what it actually is. And that distraction is even more apparent when it comes to the Google Pixel C, a beautiful but heavy 10-inch Android tablet that almost certainly isn't yet living up to its full potential.

The good

  • A large, beautiful display
  • Excellent build quality
  • Impressive (optional) keyboards
  • Nexus-like promises of software updates

The bad

  • It's heavy
  • And the keyboards make it heavier (and thicker)
  • A good bit of wonk in Android on this platform
  • Too many apps don't play nice with landscape orientation

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9 months ago

Shield Tablet K1 Marshmallow update is now available from NVIDIA

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Just as promised, NVIDIA has begun pushing the Marshmallow update to its Shield Tablet K1. The update was promised before the end of the year, and weighing in at 665MB it brings a number of big changes to the tablet.

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9 months ago

Pixel C keyboard shortcuts

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Pixel C keyboard

Google's Pixel C tablet has a couple really good keyboard options available for it. They're surprisingly spacious for a mobile typing mechanism, and the keys have a pretty good feel to them.

But one way Google got the keyboards to be as good as they are was to do without some of the less common secondary functionality. Some symbols have been moved. And others are missing altogether. And so you'll want to learn some keyboard shortcuts on the Pixel C.

Then there's the matter of navigating Android itself. There's no trackpad on these keyboards, so you'll have to lift your hands from the keys and peck at the screen more than you might like. Or, you can once again use some Pixel C keyboard shortcuts.

Google has a good cheat sheet that's worth taking a look at. But here are the Pixel C keyboard shortcuts we think you need to know above all others:

For navigating Android

  • Home — Search + Enter
  • Back — Search + Backspace
  • Recent apps — Alt + Tab (same as it ever was)

Missing symbols

  • Brackets — Use three dots + o for left bracket [, three dots + p for right bracket ]
  • Back slash — Three dots + equals =
  • Escape — When would you use this? We don't know. But it lives at three dots + 1

Default apps

Android sets defaults for a number of applications types — default browser, email client, messenger, etc. And there are keyboard shortcuts for launching them, which can be handy. Those shortcuts are:

  • Browser — Search + b
  • Search Search + l
  • Contacts — Search + c
  • Email — Search + e
  • Messenger — Search + t
  • Music — Search + p

Pixel C

Google Store

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9 months ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 review

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

Samsung made a solid tablet, but it isn't perfect — and at this price you almost expect it to be.

The quick take

The Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is thin, light, powerful, has a great screen, and is sprinkled with extra features like a fingerprint sensor, good battery life, a decent rear-facing camera and a solid side-by-side app implementation. Unfortunately it still comes up short with Samsung's overall weak software design, and poor button and speaker placement when using the tablet in landscape. Perhaps the biggest downside, however, is it's price — not everyone is willing to spend $399 on an 8-inch tablet.

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9 months ago

The phone in your pocket is a good predictor of what other gadgets you might buy

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The holidays are upon us, and the question is ... what are you getting?

Whatever your cause for indulging, the final six weeks of the year generally are a popular time for gift-giving, something retailers could not be more eager to accommodate. And so we tapped into our communities of Android, Apple, Windows and BlackBerry fans — more than 5,000 of you in North America from Nov. 25-Dec. 5 — to find out which products are creeping to the top of the holiday purchase plans.

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9 months ago

Hands-on with the TouchJet Pond Android-powered projector

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If you've ever seen a SmartBoard in a classroom, you know how cool it is to be able to walk up to a projector screen with a pen and interact with a desktop environment. The only real downside to most SmartBoard setups is the use of Windows, usually an older version of Windows that doesn't play all that well with what is essentially a touch environment. TouchJet has taken this idea and replaced Windows with Android, and instead of making this hardware mostly exclusive to classrooms it's something anyone can buy and set up in their homes.

Here's a quick look at how all of this works.

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9 months ago

Pixel C versus Nexus 9: Age before beauty in this tablet showdown

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Pixel C and Nexus 9

Google now has two compelling tablets in its stable, even if one is an aging workhorse.

In many respects Google now has competing product lines. There's Nexus, which since 2010 has represented Google's vision of Android on both a hardware and software level. And now there's Pixel — or, more specifically, the Pixel C tablet — which ... well, we're still not entirely sure where the Pixel C fits in. It's an obvious cousin to the Chromebook Pixel — right down to the Google-colored LED on its back.

But unlike the Chromebook Pixel the Pixel C doesn't run Chrome. It's decidedly an Android product and for all intents and purposes (so far, anyway) might as well be a Nexus. Stock Android, nearly identical to Android 6.0.1 on the Nexus 9. (The on-screen buttons are the lone visual difference.) Factory restore image, just like a Nexus. (And hosted on this same page, no less.

But the Pixel C and the Nexus 9 are two very different devices.

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9 months ago

Get a free year of Netflix when you buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 before Dec. 26

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Samsung is running yet another nice promotion, but unlike the other promotions this one is not for a phone. This time, its for its Galaxy Tab S2 series of tablets. People who purchase one between December 13 and December 26 in the U.S. will be able to get a year-long subscription to Netflix for free.

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9 months ago

What you need to know from that Pixel C Reddit AMA

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Google's Pixel team this week took to Reddit for an AMA (that's "ask me anything," for those not in the know). AMA's are an excellent way to promote things, and for fans of those things to interact with the folks who make the things that are being promoted. Ask a good question, and maybe it'll be answered.

And in this case it was interesting to get even more confirmation that perhaps the Pixel C was destined for something more than life as a well-built Android tablet with an optional keyboard — but things went a little off the rails somewhere along the way.

There weren't really any jaw-droppers here — the closest things to headline-worthy answers really were just confirmations of things we've known for months — but some news is better than none.

So let's flip through the best of the best.

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9 months ago

The tale of two keyboards: Which Pixel C typing cover is for you?

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Do you need a $149 keyboard for this shiny new tablet? Maybe.

The new Pixel C has a couple of keyboard covers available for it. Both are $149, and both are currently the only official way to protect the display of the tablet. The good news is that both are pretty capable — and technologically interesting — keyboards. The question is whether you really need one to make the most of the Pixel C as a product.

And that's always been the case with Android tablets. This hardly is the first one to have a dedicated keyboard — the Nexus 9 we've been using for the past year had one as well (and similarly priced at $129). That may well go into your decision whether to update to the Pixel C, and whether to shell out for a keyboard.

The two currently available are in many ways similar, but they also have very different functionality.

Let's take a quick look.

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9 months ago

First things to know about the Pixel C

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It's a Google tablet, which feels both familiar and a little different.

Google's Pixel C — its first completely in-house tablet — is now shipping. And as it's been more than a year since we've had a new Google tablet — the HTC Nexus 9 was the previous one — a lot of folks are looking at this one as their next not-quite-a-laptop solution.

The Pixel C, as you'll recall, is a 10.2-inch tablet with a slightly strange 1:√2 — that's the square root of 2 — aspect ratio. Well, it's odd for tablets, perfectly normal for a standard sheet of paper, which is what Google was going for. (It also means that you have the same aspect ratio when the display is chopped in half, which makes perfect sense for side-by-side windows, which Android doesn't have but eventually will at some point. But we digress.) It's powered by the NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor with a Maxwell GPU and 3GB of RAM, and has a 2560x1800 resolution.

It's an impressive, but also confounding, tablet.

We've been poring over the Pixel C for a bit now and have some initial thoughts. (And a few answers that came from a recent Reddit AMA with the Pixel C team.)

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9 months ago

We're answering your Pixel C questions in the forums!

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We've got a shiny new Pixel C with a couple keyboards. You've got questions. And so we're answering the heck out of them in our forums today, and until such time as we no longer answer anymore questions because of daylight, dehydration, or both.

So if you've got questions about the brand new Pixel C, now's the time to ask them. In the forums. Click here to do so.

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