Google must create a real alternative to the iPad Pro

Illustration from article titled Apple's M1 Chip is a Cruel Reminder of What Android Users Miss

Photo: Sam Rutherford / Gizmodo

As an Android user, I sometimes feel defeated after attending an Apple event, especially when there are new coveted tablets like the iPad Pro. It reminds me that there are too few viable alternatives in Android Land.

Android tablets are in dire straits. Even the ones worth buying aren’t as flashy or as good as what Apple announced this week. The starting price for the new $ 799 iPad Pro isn’t outrageous either, considering what you’re forgoing about picking one Samsung tablet at a similar price. And with the addition of Apple’s M1 chip, 5G mmWave support, and a 12MP ultra-wide front camera with Center Stage function (plus LiDAR support on the back), I feel an extreme urge.

So what should a locked down Google user do if they want a tablet that doesn’t run iOS? We’re hoping Google will reveal a processor for its Pixel line of devices. the latest rumors indicate that the next generation of Pixel smartphones will be the first to be powered by Google’s own Whitechapel “GS101” processor. That doesn’t necessarily mean Google would then successfully launch an iPad killer. But that would help alleviate a few of the other stumbles the ecosystem has had and perhaps pave the way for what could possibly be an Android tablet that you would love to buy, maybe even an Android tablet that you would consider rather than the iPad.

Imagine a Pixel processor

Illustration from article titled Apple's M1 Chip is a Cruel Reminder of What Android Users Miss

Photo: Sam Rutherford / Gizmodo

Google already molded the Pixel into its vision, but it had less control over the components inside smartphones. It has been equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors since the first Pixel devices, which is why Pixel 2, 3, 4 and 4a smartphones had an additional Visual Core or Neural Core to help the phone process AI requests and shots. high resolution.

However, there is no need to terminate the additional processing power if it is already integrated. Android intelligence Points out, the construction of the Pixel chip in-house means that it would be developed specifically for what the device is designed to do:

As it stands, Google relies on companies like Qualcomm to give it that framework and determine a lot of what it can do with its Pixel products. And for a business that focuses on areas like machine learning and an always-on-the-go assistant service, that creates serious limitations with the types of experiences it is able to deliver.

Developing the Pixel chip specifically for Pixel-branded hardware would also help extend the life of some older devices.

Imagine extended device support

Imagine if Google still supported the first generation Pixel.

Imagine if Google still supported the first generation Pixel.
Photo: Alex Cranz / Gizmodo

Apple’s customer satisfaction ratings are on the rise, in part because it supports more of its older devices, giving people more time to upgrade. iOS 14 has been supporting devices since the iPhone 6S, and this phone is almost six years old!

Imagine seeing this kind of long term device support on an Android device. The platform has improved exponentially when it comes to software updates since Google separated elements of the operating system so that they can be updated through the Google Play Store rather than wait for operators and manufacturers to pass them through. Software updates are only guaranteed on Pixel devices for a maximum of three years.

A Pixel chip can help Google provide support for its devices beyond the marketed shelf life. Even with all the aftermarket hacks and third-party versions of Android floating around, it’s not something your average consumer wants to deal with at the end of the day. This type of extended support can also help build longer-term brand loyalty, which if the last Pixel Sales Numbers are one indication – Google is struggling with.

Imagine an Android tablet

The Pixel Slate: what could have been.

The Pixel Slate: what could have been.
Photo: Alex Cranz / Gizmodo

Google released an Android tablet with the Nexus 9 made by HTC in 2014. It was a huge tablet at the time with its 9-inch screen and powerful 2.3 GHz Nvidia Tegra K1. It was a great tablet for Android developers, but it was otherwise too disappointing to knock the iPad off its tablet throne.

Then Google tried the tablet trick again with the Pixel Slate, except this time the device used Chrome OS, which is compatible with Android apps. The device featured impressive performance and a high density vibrating screen. It was even compatible with the Pixel Pen, although it failed to gain traction in creative communities like the Apple Pencil did. The keyboard case was also not very stable, which made it difficult to connect the tablet during long periods of typing. In the end, the Slate didn’t sell well and Google quietly cut it off.

Samsung is still the only player in the game trying to get competitive Android tablets, and the Galaxy tab s7 + isn’t a bad alternative if you’re married to the idea of ​​sticking with Android. It offers some of the features available on the iPad Pro, including a beautiful display and an accurate S-Pen with built-in magnetic charge. But Samsung is selling its version of the Android ecosystem, and it’s not exactly known for quick update to the latest software version. Not to mention the fact that Android still needs to be tweaked before being fully proficient at productivity.

There is no indication that Google plans to launch into Android tablets again or that it would even attempt to come up with something that would compete with the latest iPad Pro anytime soon. It’s more likely we’ll see a Chrome tablet, especially following reports that the alleged Pixel chip could find life in a tablet-like Chrome device down the line.

Whatever the plan, hopefully Google will follow through on these internal chip rumors. Every Apple event that features a cutting-edge iPad onscreen is yet another reminder of what we’re missing in the Android realm: platform parity. A custom chip for Pixel devices would only be the start of the complete unification of the Google ecosystem and the creation its hardware is a viable alternative to Apple.

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