Android N won’t be enough for convertibles

Latest data from IDC suggest that convertibles will transform current tablet sales: the current sales drop this year (5.9% from 2015)  will stop next year with “single-digit growth in 2017“. That growth will have a leader: Windows.

Microsoft’s operating system is leading this market now, but it will do with even more strength in the next few years, increasing the gap with iOS and Android.

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The latter will probably have the same problems on convertibles that it has shown on regular tablets. Not many applications take advantage of the tablet and that’s a real issue for users that can enjoy a better software catalog for tablets both on Windows and, of course, iOS.

But there’s another problem coming: productivity. Last year Pixel C showed promise, but in the first reviews  it was clear that Android was not a good match for a convertible. It wasn’t then, and it won’t be this year despite the current discount in price.

The reason is again clear: Android N is available for developers and supports several devices (Pixel C included), but the only real feature that will enhance that productivity scenario is the new multiwindow support. It’s nice to have that finally -one year after iOS introduced it-, but it’s far from enough. Again.

When you are in front of a convertible with a laptop and a touchpad (not in this case), you want a laptop experience, not a tablet experience. That’s the one we actually are productive with. So I’d ask Google why are they being so stingy and so shy in their convertible bet.

Considering the rumors about an Android and Chrome OS merger, these are not good news. I would expect much more from Google.

Split-screen feature for Android is coming, but that’s far from enough

Google’s sleek new Pixel C tablet has already gotten dinged in initial reviews for missing a basic productivity feature that is available in comparable gadgets, like the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4: the ability to run multiple windows at any given time. Now we know for sure that the feature is coming to Android.

We talked about this yesterday. A split-screen feature to be able to have two windows at the same time in your screen in nice, but the problem is the software catalog itself.

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You can’t not be that productive when the apps look like scaled, giant versions of the ones you’ve got on a phone. Android has never had a good tablet catalog of apps, and work must be done there.

Look at the iPad Pro. The split-screen feature hasn’t saved it from “just decent” reviews.

Source: Google is working on a split-screen feature for Android, always-on ‘OK Google,’ and DisplayPort support for Pixel C

The Pixel C is just and oversized phone

The new convertible tablet from Google is available at last, and reviews came as expected from different big media assets. Ars Technica, Engadget or The Verge (in two ocassions, this one and this one) speak about the device and mostly arrive to the same conclussion, expressed very well by Walt Mossberg on The Verge:

Without a decent selection of true tablet software, especially for productivity, it’s just an oversized phone

That’s why Pixel C is another attractive device no one would really recommend. Google’s proposal follows the ones made by Apple (iPad Pro) and Microsoft (Surface Pro 4, Surface 3) but fails at the software part. Android is not ready for that multitasking features we get on these other platforms. Even iOS 9 has included a dual-window mode, and reviews weren’t that nice on that front either.

We’ll have to wait for that hybrid between Android and Chrome OS, I guess.

Follow-up (12/11/15): This new report from Ars Technica shows that Android was probably a last minute solution to launch a product that was meant to be based on Chrome OS and that will probably was affected by the decission to merge Chrome OS with Android. Interesting.

Google’s Pixel C has a smart aspect ratio, but what about the stylus?

The aspect ratio on Google’s new tablet is the square root of two. Why?

Brian Barrett gives us an explanation of the weird aspect ratio ( 1:√2, about 1:1.41) on the new Google Pixel C Tablet. The explanation is divided in two:

  1. It makes websites and webapps more “appealing”.
  2. If you divide the Pixel C’s screen in two, you get the same exact aspect ratio over and over again. Useful for spliting screens/windows

Smart move to differenciate these tablets from the ones other makers are producing, but still, one big thing is missing from Google’s proposal: the stylus.

Source: What’s With the Aspect Ratio on Google’s Pixel C Tablet?