You’re forgiven if you’ve forgotten about the Pixel C, an Android tablet Google started selling two years ago. At its launch, it was a confounding device with clever (or too clever) hardware saddled with software that didn’t work well on a tablet. Now its dubious run has ended, as you can no longer buy it from Google’s online store.
Here’s Google’s statement on the “retirement” of the Pixel C:
“As is common when a device has been out for a few years, we’re now retiring Pixel C and it is no longer available for sale. However, we are committed to updating and supporting it, including the recent update to Android 8.0, so customers can continue to get the best out of their device. Our newly launched Google Pixelbook combines the best parts of a laptop and a tablet for those looking for a versatile device.”
The Pixel C comes from an earlier age of Google hardware when the company took a more experimental approach. It was a device meant to show that Android could run well on that processor and that the Android tablet ecosystem could be resuscitated. And while it was fine at the former, it utterly failed at the latter. Android tablets still exist, sure, but they’re nowhere near as popular or as useful as the iPad.
The Pixel C did eventually pick up one of the very basic features you’d expect from a modern tablet — split-screen multitasking. But it was far too little, far too late — and Android apps still are not very good on tablet-sized screens.
The tablet spent the last few months of its life as the target of cheap shots about how odd it was that Google was selling a two-year-old tablet for full price in a world that has given up on professional Android tablets.
Fittingly, the passing of the Pixel C from Google’s retail store happened quietly. Even more fittingly, as Android Police notes, the URL that used to point to the Pixel C now points to the Pixelbook.
ChromeOS has definitively taken over the place that Google once hoped Android tablets could occupy. Chromebooks can run Android apps in windowed mode, they have a better web browser, and a lot of them are cheaper than what the Pixel C was selling for. (And there are still rumors of a ChromeOS tablet with a detachable keyboard floating around if you want to keep the Android-on-a-tablet dream alive.)
The Pixel C did make an inexplicable cameo in Wonder Woman this year, by the way. Not a bad last hurrah for a gadget, all things considered.
Have you used the Pixel C? What is your stance on this action taken by Google? Let us know in the comments section below.