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Google Pixel C tablet team AMA reveals a lot about upcoming developments

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Google’s Pixel C is its first step into the tablet hardware game and it’s a hotly competitive one, so any moves the search giant makes there are going to need to be precise. While it’s debatable whether this first entry is as strong as Google might have hoped, the team who developed it is very enthusiastic about it, and they told us a lot about the future of the little device in a recent Reddit AMA.

The Ask me Anything thread featured Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior VP of Android and ChromeOS; Andrew Bowers, consumer hardware director; Glen Murphy, Chrome and Android UX director; Kevin Tom, the Pixel C’s product manager; Puneet Kumar, software developer; and Benson Leung, software engineer. Although Bowers was the main mouth piece, all members chimed in at various points with their different takes on questions from the audience.

The questioned started off with an inquiry as to why the Pixel C seemed to be missing certain features that have become quite typical for these sorts of tablet 2-in-1s, like “Ok Google,” hotword support and the double-tap-to-wake function. While the former was intended for an update in the future we were told, the latter was simply too draining on the battery.

One of the biggest gripes people have with the Pixel C is its lack of multi-window support, which lets users run more than one application on the screen at any one time. This is the sort of functionality that Windows users have enjoyed forever, so it makes sense that people would want it on their Android device too.

The team said it’s a feature it’s currently working on, but didn’t have a time frame for when it might be completed. The responder also said the Pixel team would continue to work with app developers to try and make more Android apps fit the device, rather than just re-hash smartphone apps.

As the team pointed out, it is a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. Until developers get on board, other hardware makers will hold back from the smaller form-factor tablets, and vice versa.

The Pixel C  took a lot of flak from Redditors who weren’t satisfied with their responses, and in some cases lack thereof. While a lot of questions went unanswered – many would consider them the tougher questions, too – even simple questions like, “what devices do you use?” merely elicited the response that they all work with the Pixel C a lot.

In another instance, a Redditor asked if there would “ever be a Pixel C form factor device running Chrome OS made by Google?”

“Chrome OS runs on multiple form factors now, for example the Asus Flip and Chromebit,” read the response. “We’re always looking at new, interesting form factors.”

Another Redditor quickly chimed in, calling that another “great non-answer.”

Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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