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article imageGoogle did a Reddit AMA for its new tablet and got destroyed

By James Walker     Dec 11, 2015 in Technology
The team behind Google's Pixel C Android tablet participated in a Reddit ask me anything (AMA) session earlier this week. The conversation was quickly flooded with overwhelmingly negative comments though, fuelled by media criticism of the device.
The $649 Pixel C was launched as a "productive tablet" in September. It is built entirely of aluminium and includes a Bluetooth keyboard that can be attached using magnets. The Pixel C runs Android though, something that has proven to be its downfall.
The majority of the reviews have praised the tablet's hardware and form factor but directed criticism at its software. Put simply, Android still doesn't feel at home on a tablet. Many apps don't have dedicated tablet versions and basic productivity tools such as split-screen multitasking have yet to make an official appearance.
Ars Technica concluded "This tablet's entire reason for existing - to run Android - is also the worst thing about it." WIRED wrote "An Android tablet can't be great until Google fixes Android."
Reddit AMA sessions have a tendency to go awry if a product already has negative reviews and people have lots of questions why. Google learnt this the hard way yesterday when Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP of Android and ChromeOS, Andrew Bowers, Director of Consumer Hardware, and Benson Leung, a software engineer, took questions on the Pixel C.
The team was quickly faced with hundreds of negative questions and comments, asking Google to explain why "pixel hardware was released before the software was ready" and assure users that hardware defects noted in review units wouldn't be present in shipped models. The company opted to ignore it all though, answering just 11 questions in one hour and failing to address any of the most pressing concerns.
One of the most up-voted comments in the thread, a post by zim2411, prompted Google to discuss why both Ars Technica and The Verge experienced major issues with the tablet itself, as well as Android.
Ars wrote: "Our unit had a ton of quality control issues. The touchscreen frequently failed to register taps, and scrolling was unreliable. The keyboard also frequently disconnected from the tablet, which caused typing to go crazy."
Google failed to respond to dozens of similar posts and queries. The engineers did acknowledge a lack of tablet-orientated Android apps though, admitting "it is definitely a chicken-egg problem, and we think a key driver is awesome hardware."
That "awesome hardware" is supposedly the Pixel C. Google said it will be working with developers to build "awesome tablet apps" in the future but in doing so opened itself to further derision for appearing to admit Pixel C may have been launched too early.
It's unclear what Google expected to get out of the AMA. The general consensus on the Pixel C is that it's a beautifully designed tablet ruined by hardware defects and a lacklustre software experience. With Google unwilling to confront any of the complaints head-on, the tablet's future no longer looks so bright as it did at its unveiling.
More about Google, pixel c, Tablet, Android, Reddit
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