Pixel C was supposed to be Google’s answer to the Microsoft Surface and Apple’s iPod at the same time. There was no question that the hardware was high quality and Google even seemed to have got behind the promotional aspect of it full fledged.
The aftermath though has not been pretty. Android tablets continue to lurk at the bottom of the drawer when it comes to performance against Windows and iOS. The chief reason for that is that Microsoft has taken the better approach of treating tablets like shrunken down computers instead of treating them like blown up phones.
Apple also started out as making its tablets consumption devices and has now pivoted to adding productivity features to them. Apple though has been excellent at driving developers into building tablet specific apps for its platform, something that Google has failed at doing.
Ina Reddit session, a few months after the release of Pixel C, Google developers were basically answering ‘Wait for Nougat’ as the answer to all its potential shortcomings. So now that Android Nougat is finally out, does it make the Pixel c the tablet Google wanted it to be?
The short answer for anyone not interested in reading further is no, it does not. The primary feature that was supposed to solve Google’s problem with Developers not updating their apps was the introduction of the split screen.
It is a great help to people using the Pixel C because they can finally do some amount of work on their tablets without constantly having to switch between apps. It also means that Apps now render much better in the reduced space than in full landscape mode.
In fact, we recommend people to always be running a split screen to run apps since even now a shockingly large percentage of the top-200 apps in the Play store did not support landscape mode at all. Other apps which did support landscape mode were only grotesquely stretched out versions which clearly added the feature as an afterthought.
Android Nougat gives tablet developers a lot of tools which they can utilize in making their tablet friendly but itself does not employ a tablet first method of designing its core applications.
The whole situation is one where Google expects to be able to continuously get away with releasing Android tablets that do not have a coherent design language and apps that are subpar in their implementation through the sheer force of numbers.
There are cheap versions of Android tablets that will undercut everything else from multiple manufacturers, which Google is hoping will help it win market share, eventually. What is also may end up doing through this approach is making the first tablet experience of millions of customers unsatisfactory and spoil Android’s image as a whole.
The Pixel C was supposed to be the benchmark tablet that would help manufacturers get an idea of how to do Android tablets right but it was a half-baked experiment that remains an incomplete experience even after the release of Nougat.