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TECHNOLOGY

Google’s Pixel Slate Tablet Hasn’t Even Been Announced Yet and I Already Want One

The world’s first tablet running on the Chrome operating system debuts in New York City.

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BY Minda Zetlin - 09 Oct 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Google is about to announce the introduction of the new Google Pixel Slate at its hardware event in New York City. And while most Google fans are fixated on the also-about-to-be-announced Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Android phones, the Pixel Slate is a much bigger deal. It's the world's first tablet to run on the Chrome operating system.

At 11 am Eastern time this morning, Google is holding its new hardware event in New York City. Based on a generous supply of leaks, we know that Google will introduce at least five new products: Two new phones, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, a new Chromecast device for watching web content on a TV, and a rumored Google Home Hub, the first Google smart speaker with a touchscreen to compete with Amazon's Echo Show. But then there's the Google Pixel Slate, Google's newest tablet. And all I can think is what my stepdaughter was known for saying as a baby: "Want that!"

Some people can't bear to be separated from their phones, but I have that relationship with my Android tablet. It's the last device I turn off before I go to sleep and the first one I turn on when I wake up. I depend on it for reading, texting, playing games, email, shopping and pretty much everything else I do other than writing. I've never wanted an iPad or a Windows tablet, and I've always preferred the purity and first-in-line-for-operating-system-upgrades you get with a Google branded product. So I was more than a bit perturbed when the Google Pixel C, introduced two years ago, was said to be Google's final Android tablet.

But the world was changing. Windows had already attempted to create a convergence between the world of laptops and the world of tablets, although the results have been mixed at best and clunky at worst. Now Google is creating that convergence with a few simple developments. First, Chrome went from just a browser to a web-based operating system that runs Chromebooks. Next, these Chromebooks became something of a tablet replacement when they were given touchscreens and the ability to load Android apps. Then Google came out with the Pixelbook, a gorgeous (and pricey) Chromebook. Google promised you could use it both as a laptop and as a tablet, not to mention as a viewing device for videos.

I wanted to want one. But in "tablet" mode, the Pixelbook still has a keyboard--it just folds around and lies flat against the back of the screen. I hated the idea of holding a tablet with a keyboard stuck to its back. On the other hand, I loved the idea of a Chromebook doubling as a tablet. I travel a lot, and it seems silly to drag along both a Chromebook and an Android tablet even though that's what I always do. I longed for a single device that could double as a Chromebook and tablet, with a full sized and functional keyboard, but not one that's permanently attached.

And that's exactly what the Google Pixel Slate is, according to specs that have been leaked all over the Internet, even though Google isn't announcing the device for another few hours. The Pixel Slate is expected to be the first tablet to run Chrome OS, making it a full-fledged Chromebook, but also capable of loading Android apps. It has what looks like a full-sized keyboard, with intriguing round keys, as well as a touchscreen. That keyboard appears to be removable, so I wouldn't find myself twiddling with the keys as I try to read my book. In fact, it appears that the keyboard doubles as a cover, much like the keyboard/cover of the Microsoft Surface Pro, which this device is clearly meant to compete with. It even comes with a stylus, as the Pixelbook did. Best of all, I wouldn't need to travel with a Chromebook and a tablet, one for real work, the other for reading, games, and email. I could finally start leaving some of my technology at home.

Google hasn't even admitted this device exists yet, so of course we don't know how much it will cost, or when you could actually get one. I'm just hoping it's soon.

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