Pixel C evidence suggests Android OS was an afterthought
Nexus is Android, Pixel is Chrome OS, right? Well, historically, sure, but with the new Pixel C, Google’s decided to cross the streams and give us a non-Nexus tablet running Android. We know the “what” of it well enough, but what about the “why”; why bring Android to a brand that’s so strongly associated with another platform? Google hasn’t officially talked much about that decision, but a new analysis lays out a convincing timeline that suggests the Pixel C was born as a Chrome device, and that its move to Android-only was essentially a last-minute decision.
Back in summer of 2014, evidence emerged for a Chrome motherboard codenamed Ryu – the same internal name that now graces the Android-running Pixel C.
Google appears to have been working on a touchscreen interactive for Chrome OS at right around the same time, though that project has since been canceled. As Google was working out what to do with Ryu, the company seems to have latched onto the idea of a dual-boot system, one that could run both Chrome OS and Android. While development continued along this line well into 2015, Google looks like it canceled this direction back in July.
With both touchscreen-Chrome and hybrid-Chrome plans dead in the water, Google may have simply gone with a pure-Android Pixel C in hope to salvage the project and get the hardware out in time for the lucrative holiday season. By this account, the reason we didn’t get to see much from the Pixel C at September’s launch event was because the paint had barely dried on its new all-Android software, and the company’s been rushing to get it ready for release ever since.
Should this development cycle alter your thoughts about the tablet? Well, it would help explain some oddly overlooked Android features, like system-wide OK Google hotword support. Google says it’s working on that now, so maybe the Pixel C will start looking a little more polished in the next few months.
We’ve just picked up our own Pixel C, so stay tuned to Pocketnow for our hands-on thoughts on the tablet.