The most visited webpage on the internet is, without the shadow of a doubt, Google.com. It is thus the most interesting advertising avenue and Google is best placed to know this. However, it has kept the page’s pristine white look, only supplementing it with a doodle every now and then, and new About and Store shortcuts in a few countries. But from time to time, Google uses the power of its homepage to advertise its own products. Read MoreGoogle is advertising the Pixel Slate on the Google.com homepage was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
For as exciting as product announcements can be, especially when we’re getting hands-on time with some brand-new gear, they also have the potential to be incredibly frustrating. At Google’s October event, we got to meet devices like the new Pixel 3 and 3XL, as well as the Home Hub smart display — and it wasn’t too long after their introduction that shoppers could take that hardware home. Sadly, the situation’s a bit different for the Pixel Slate, and while Google went official with its Chrome OS tablet last month, it held back on talking about sales in terms any more temporally precise than “later this year.” As we wait for the Slate to land, we just passed a major waypost on the path to retail sales, with the tablet showing off its certification docs at the FCC. Read MorePixel Slate pops up at the FCC as we (maybe not so) patiently wait for sales to open was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
When Google unveiled the Pixel Slate last month, I was quite excited. The new ChromeOS tablet was 7mm thick and weighed a mere 1.6 pounds, making it thinner and lighter than most other 12-inch tablets. While the Pixel Slate wasn’t really positioned as an extreme workhorse or a gaming powerhouse, Google will be offering it with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7, sporting 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. That’s more than enough power to keep up with an intense workday or gaming session, but you’ll I’m not sure too many people will be buying that version since it’s priced at $1599. Most people will opt for the $599 model which is equipped with an 8th Gen Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The basic model should still be very capable, but nowhere near as powerful.
The Pixel Slate represents the perfect middle ground between an Android tablet and a full-featured Windows device, but with the introduction of the new Apple iPad Pro, it’ll likely go unnoticed. To start, the new 12.9-inch iPad is absolutely gorgeous. Surprisingly, Apple managed to finally shrink down the bezels around the display while still including a front-facing camera and the other sensors needed for Face-ID. On top of that, you get a higher resolution camera on the back that can record 4K video at 60fps (Pixel Slate is limited to 1080p at 30fps), 512GB and 1TB high-capacity storage options (the Slate only goes up to 256GB) and support for Bluetooth 5.0. Naturally, at $999, the base model of the iPad Pro does cost more than the Pixel Slate, but the Apple A12X Bionic chip inside Apple’s tablet is faster than “92% of portable PCs.” While we would never blindly take Apple at its word, new iPad Pro Geekbench scores show that the tablet is just as fast as a 2018 Mac Book Pro running a 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7.
If we look at the number, a 2018 iPad Pro with 256GB of storage which costs $1149 offers the same (if not better) performance as the $1,599 Pixel Slate at a fraction of the cost. Now we all know that Google’s hardware products have never been positioned at being budget-friendly, but I never thought that it would lose to Apple on pricing by a 28% margin.
To be fair, the Pixel Slate’s 48 WHr battery is significantly larger than the 36.71 WHr cell inside the iPad Pro. Google’s tablet also features two USB-C posts and front-facing stereo speakers which should deliver much better audio than Apple’s new tablet and the 16GB of RAM you get with the $1599 Pixel Slate is likely a lot more than what Apple will include in the 2018 iPad Pro. But in my book, the new iPad Pro still has the advantage – mainly because it has a broad selection of apps which have been developed to work flawlessly on its 12.9-inch display. Sure, the Pixel Slate can run thousands of Android apps that can be downloaded through Google Play, but it’s still hard to find more than a few apps which truly take advantage of a larger display. On the other side, you have the iPad Pro which can run the new full version of Adobe Photoshop which can edit a 3GB PSD file without a hitch, Adobe Premier Rush (this one is coming to Android sometime in 2019) and the dozens of music editing apps available for iOS.
Apple has simply built a much better tablet ecosystem than Google.
It’s hard to say how well the Pixel Slate will perform. Google will likely push its new tablet with a huge marketing campaign, positioning it as an alternative to Microsoft’s Surface and Apple’s new iPad. I don’t think the Pixel Slate will be a complete flop, but it’ll definitely look that way when Apple announced millions of iPad Pro sales before the end of the year.
Google’s Chrome OS and Chromebooks have been around for years, but Google is hitting the reset button with the unveiling of the Google Pixel Slate. The new tablet offers a completely new experience, giving users productivity in a more mobile form factor. The Slate is thin and light with rounded edges and a balanced bezel on all sides, making it the perfect device for surfing the web or sitting back and enjoying your media. It’s a far cry from the utilitarian Chromebooks of the past and feels significantly friendlier than last year’s Pixel Book.
The body of the Pixel Salte is a bit thicker than 7mm and weighs 1.6 pounds which is thinner and lighter than most other 12-inch tablets on the market. The display features a resolution of 3,000 x 2,000 pixels with a new technology which allows electrons to move 100 times faster than they do in a standard display. The Slate also features stereo speakers which direct the audio directly at the user. You also get 2 USB-C posts so that you can plug in multiple accessories (in addition to the keyboard port on the bottom. Unfortunately, there’s no 3.mm headphone jack, so you’ll need to use Bluetooth or USB-C headphones if you want to enjoy your music or video without disturbing others, but Google is kind enough to include a 3.5mm to USB-C headphone adapter in the box. And for extra security, the power button on the side also doubles as a fingerprint sensor.
The official Pixel Slate keyboard features full-sized backlit keys which are round and quiet. It also includes a full-sized trackpad. The folio design of the keyboard allows you to use the Slate at different angles thanks to a magnetic connection between the tablet and the keyboard. And when you’re done with your work, the keyboard then folds over the front of the Pixel Slate to act as a protective cover.
The cheapest Pixel Slate model starts at $599 with an 8th Gen Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. That being said there are a lot of configuration options available which max out at $1599 with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Needless to say, the pixel Slate can pack a punch, as long as you’re willing to spend the cash.
With its front and rear 8MP cameras, the Pixel Slate also uses Google’s computational photography tech so that you can take amazing images. Users will also be able to take portrait shots an have the background of the image digitally blurred. The front camera also comes with a wide angle lens and improved low light photo and video capture making ideal for video conferencing.
The software experience is pretty much what you’re come to experience with new Chrome OS devices. You have split screen support, integrated Google Assistant. And App launcher which suggest which apps you might be looking for, Android and Linus app support. That being said, the Pixel Slate will jump into a “tablet” mode when the keyboard is not connected. This means that your windowed apps expand to full-screen mode, but things switch back to the standard windowed view as soon as you’re docked with a keyboard again.
Google’s official Pixel Slate Keyboard will set you back $199 and the tablet is also compatible with the $99 Pixel Pen. Google will start selling the Pixel Salte and its accessories later this year in the US, Canada and the UK.
While the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are sure to be the headliners at Google’s event this Tuesday, the company has plenty to show us as Google has utterly failed to keep seemingly anything under wraps this year.
Let’s take a look at all of the devices that Google could have in store for us this week.
Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
Given the number of leaks regarding these devices, it probably feels like there is nothing left to be said about them on stage, but there are actually a surprising number of details that remain less than 100% certain.
We know that the Pixel 3 is moving to an 18:9 screen ratio with reduced bezels and rounded edges to the 5.5-inch screen, but it otherwise bears a strong resemblance to the Pixel 2. The Pixel 3 XL, on the other hand, is perhaps regrettably joining in on the notch craze that has swept the smartphone market this year while still inexplicably retaining a fairly substantial chin.
Both devices will feature dual front-facing cameras for improved selfie performance with a wide angle and zoom available. They’ll be powered by a Snapdragon 845, although reportedly with just 4GB of RAM according to the latest leaks, for whatever software magic that Google has up its sleeves for the new Pixels. That is the one piece of the puzzle that we can’t completely fit in place just yet. Even the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were fairly unassuming devices to look at when they launched last year, it was the software that allowed Google to deliver the best smartphone camera on the market in that nondescript package.
Love it or hate it the Active Edge features will be here, allowing you to trigger different actions by squeezing the device, hopefully, this is improved from current offerings which at least in my experience trigger almost exclusively when I don’t intend it to.
After having been ahead of the pack with its devices, on Tuesday it will have been just shy of 4 years to the day since Google unveiled its last smartphone that supported wireless charging, but thankfully that wire-free power drought is set to end with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
With the triumphant return of wireless charging to Google’s smartphone line (missing since the Nexus 6), Google is apparently doing what some other smartphone makers can’t and releasing a wireless charger to go with it.
This is one of the less thoroughly leaked devices in Tuesday’s lineup, we just have a few renders to go on, but the rumor also suggests that the charger will trigger an ambient mode that can display photos, notifications, and perhaps allow you to use Google Assistant without unlocking your phone. Essentially this would turn your phone into a Smart Display Mini, which would make for a pretty compelling addition to a desk or bedside table.
Google Home Hub
Speaking of Smart Display, Google is rumored to be stepping into this market themselves after giving their partners like Lenovo and JBL a few months head start. The Smart Display platform is pretty well defined by Google, so it’ll be interesting to see how they might try to differentiate themselves from the devices that we’ve already seen other than pure cosmetics.
Part of setting expectations is what we shouldn’t expect to see and a Google/Pixel Watch isn’t in the cards for this event as Google confirmed to Tom’s Guide back in August that the company is entirely focused on the Google Wear software experience this year and wouldn’t be releasing any hardware of its own.
One product that we’ve heard basically nothing about are the Pixel Buds, Google’s not so wireless earbuds from last year fell a little short of expectations so it’s safe to say they could use an update if they are looking to remain relevant in 2018 and beyond. Given Google’s complete inability to keep hardware under wraps this year it is unfortunately hard to see a major redesign of the Pixel Buds having slipped through the cracks, so perhaps they’ve punted this project to next year.
What we will certainly have is a new pair of packed in USB-C wired Pixel Buds in the box with the new Pixels.
Android tablets may not be dead, but they are certainly on life support, but with Chrome OS support for Android apps it seems plausible that Chrome OS tablets could step in as the solution to Android’s tablet problem. Google’s offering looks to be taking on the high end with a detachable keyboard option that will take on the iPad Pro and Surface Pro market.
Other rumored specs include a 3000 x 2000 resolution display, USB-C ports, and a fingerprint sensor. Multiple configurations should be available, topping out around 16GB of RAM with an Intel i7 processor, so again suffice to say this isn’t going to be a budget device, this is definitely following the Pixelbook model rather than the old budget Android tablet days of the Nexus 7.
And for those that are happy to stick with a standard laptop design, the Pixelbook is due for another refresh, but this is more likely to be a spec bump rather than a true redesign. The one potentially juicy update for the Pixelbook would be a 4K UHD display, rumors of such a device have been swirling since last April.
The Chromecast hasn’t seen any major updates in years and it doesn’t seem like this is going to be the event where that changes. Much like the Pixel 3, this one actually slipped into a customer’s hands somehow thanks to Best Buy, so we can expect just a matte finish to replace the old glossy model and the addition of Bluetooth.
How to Watch
If you want to be on the frontlines with us watching Google unveil all of its latest and greatest you can tune in to the Made by Google YouTube channel at 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight time this Tuesday, October 9th.
If you can’t make it live, have no fear, we’ll certainly have you covered here after the event.