Hi, I’m Andrew, here at Google and I’m with the team that built the Pixel C...Ask Us Anything!
Andrew Bowers here with the Pixel C team(proof!): https://twitter.com/Android/status/674659815885578241
We have been working to get Pixel C out the door before the holidays, and now that we have time to breath, we wanted to answer your questions. We’ll be answering your questions from 11 to 12 PM PT (1800-1900 UTC) so...Ask Us Anything!
A bit more about us (we’ll initial our responses):
Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP Android and ChromeOS. I still don’t skydive. (I promise I am here!)
Andrew Bowers, Director for Consumer Hardware. Obsessive Pixel Perfectionist Glen Murphy, Director of UX for Android and Chrome. Displaced Australian. Kevin Tom, Product Manager for Pixel C. Roller coaster addict Puneet Kumar, Software Director for Pixel C, software cat herder.
Benson Leung, Software Engineer, USB C vigilante
EDIT: Thank you everyone! It was a lot of fun, and we are glad we got to answer some of your questions. Back to work now!
GM: We're working hard on a range of enhancements for Android in this form-factor - there are many things, like multiwindow, that we've been spending a lot of time on - hopefully we can share more about this soon.
Hi Andrew, during the Google product keynote in October, you said "Like our other Pixel devices, the Pixel C will get better over time, with software updates every six weeks."
Can you clarify how the Pixel update roadmap will differ from normal Android releases? I know that Chrome OS receives updates every six weeks, but to my knowledge, Android is very different. Nexus devices gets monthly security updates, but larger software/feature updates are significantly more spaced out, with major releases once a year, a couple minor releases every few months. Can we expect the Pixel C to be on a different schedule?
AB: Great question. Let me kick that over to Puneet!
PK: We expect to update Pixel C on regular cadence lining up with the monthly security updates for Android
The Pixel C is a beautiful device, you guys do amazing design work (Pixel 2 LS owner).
My question is what was the logic behind not building in real stylus support (and a stylus to go with it)? It is a huge feature of most productivity tablets, which is what the Pixel C seems to be positioned as. This is particularly perplexing when native bluetooth stylus support was a notable feature of Android M.
The second question is, is multiwindow support slated for the Pixel C in the near future?
Finally, who do we have to
blow bribe convince to get a Pixel Phone?
What is "real" stylus support as opposed to the native bluetooth stylus support?
AB: There are definitely passive styluses that work well with Pixel C. For this version of the product, we decided to focus on the keyboard in particular versus, say, an active stylus.
This is the first I hear about this. What really sets this apart from any of the other Android tablets on the market (besides the keyboard of course)?
This bears some semblance to the Surface Pro tablets, which of course are more expensive, but x86 and less restrictive for it. Is this attempting to compete with a Surface Pro? If so, how does it compare in a business/school environment?
BL: On the USB side of things, Pixel C stands out in the following ways : 1) Type-C! 2) USB 3.1 Host & Client mode 3) USB PD fast charging for 24W 4) USB Debug Accessory mode. KT: Tablets are all about the display. Pixel C has a very high-resolution 2560x1800 display with 308 PPI. It's also brighter than other tablets at 500 nits. Pixel C is also the first Android tablet that ships with Marshmallow and will receive updates directly from Google
Ok Google: Can you thank Benson Leung for me?
Keep reviewing, man.
BL: I appreciate it! Glad it helps out :)
1) Any thoughts on making a Pixel phone especially now that it looks like Microsoft might finally be making a Surface Phone?
2) Are there any additions to Android you wish the Android team was able to get in in time for the pixel’s release (Ex split screen, improved apps, additional features?
3) What tablets did you use to draw inspiration for the Pixel C’s design?
4) What phones or tablets do you all use, and no Pixel C is not an answer ;-)
5) How prolific do you see USB C in the next year or so with hardware design.
1) AB: The Nexus phones aren’t good enough? ;)
2) AB: We're working on lots of things right now for N that, of course, we wish we had, you know, yesterday. But we'd spoil the surprise of N if we shared all of them. Split screen is in the works!
3) KT: The first source of inspiration was really the Chromebook Pixel. You can see a lot of the same design language is shared across the family.
4) AB: This sounds like one of those 'What's on your playlist right now' questions! Seriously, though, we use the Pixel C - a lot - as we've been developing it. We also use a bunch of other devices. Lots of good stuff out there.
5) BL: It's safe to say that future Google devices will support USB Type-C, starting with Nexus 6P and 5X for phones, Chromebook Pixel for laptops, and Pixel C for tablets. In the larger industry, we are already seeing phones, laptops, and tablets using USB Type-C from Apple, HP, Dell, OnePlus and others. Expect to see USB Type-C be extremely prolific!
A lot of the negatives in the Pixel C reviews are related to the application/software side of things. How are you going to address/encourage more authors to make their apps compatible with tablets, not just a phone app on a tablet?
GM: We're spending a lot of time working with developers to get better and more awesome tablet apps, but it is definitely a chicken-egg problem, and we think a key driver is awesome hardware (like the Pixel-C :)
Is there a reason why you left out double tap to wake and "OK Google" hot word support when the screen is off? Can we expect to see them added in a future update?
KT: For double tap, we wanted to optimize for sleep battery life. The double tap drained the battery faster by leaving part of the touch screen enabled. If you use with the keyboard, it will wake when opened.
We are working on always-on "Ok Google" support for a future update.
Will the Pixel C be supported by AOSP and/or have factory images available like Nexus devices? Will we be able to unlock the bootloader and alter the OS?
Will the Pixel C support USB recovery like Chromebooks? Is the firmware open source like it is on Chromebooks?
Can you comment on the Pixel C's potential support for DisplayPort/HDMI over USB Alternate Mode?
PK: Yes, the Pixel C will be supported on AOSP just like other Nexus devices. The bootloader can be unlocked to enable booting an alternate OS. Pixel C does not support Chromebook style recovery via USB. The firmware is open source. It is Coreboot. DisplayPort support over Type C is being worked on but we don't have a release date yet.
The Nexus 7 was incredibly successful because of its price point. Thanks to the Nexus 7, almost all Android apps look good on 7in displays. With the Pixel C priced in the high-end tablet range, why should developers invest the time in updating their apps for the larger display?
GM: Though the Pixel-C has a larger screen, it's not dramatically different from other larger Android tablets - though smaller tablets like the N7 can get away with running phone-scale apps, we're going to get to better large-screen support within the ecosystem by pushing on it with devices like the Pixel-C
Why pixel and not nexus?
GM: the consonants, vowels, and Xs are in the right places! Also, Pixel is Google designed hardware; Nexus is hardware we work closely with partners to design
What is Pixel C and what is notable about it?
It's an Android tablet but is the first (widely released) tablet designed and manufactured by Google.
Since it's the holidays, and no one has asked yet, may I have a Pixel C? I've been very good all year.
GM: Absolutely! The store is this way!
Why use Nvidia chips when it went pretty bad last year with the Nexus 9?
If you make a Pixel phone with an 820 next year please make it 5.2" and a relatively nice size. Like the LG G2 perhaps?
PK: Nvidia has been a great partner to work with. The Tegra 210 provides a good combination of performance, power, profile and I/O integration.
It seems a lot of the disappointment with the Pixel C stems not from the hardware, which is getting rave reviews, but from the software. How is the Android team working to make the Pixel C a better purchase when compared to more functional tablet operating systems?
Also: got any spare tablets laying around for a broke Computer Science student/major Pixel fanboy?😁
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