Google Pixel C- The First Android tablet with USB Type-C
Google was the first to launch a Chromebook with the new USB Type-C interface through the Chromebook Pixel (2015). With the Google Pixel C, Google is also the first to launch an Android tablet with USB Type-C. You might expect the Pixel C to also run the the Chrome Operating System but instead it runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. You might also expect the Pixel C to output video over Type-C similar to the Chromebook Pixel (2015) but right now the only use of the Type-C connector is for data transfers and charging. The Pixel C also the first tablet to support USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) over USB Type-C .
To try the new Type-C Android tablet out, I purchased the Pixel C at the Google Online Store together with the Pixel C keyboard and were delivered to me fairly quickly.
Both the Pixel C and keyboard came in sturdy premium looking boxes and were easy to open.
The back of the keyboard box shows all 3 different tablet, notebook, and clamshell configurations capable with the Pixel C and the keyboard.
Once you remove the Pixel C from its box, the only accessory in the box you'll see is a USB Type-C Charger.
One of the unique things with the USB Type-C connector is that it is flippable so you no longer have to worry which way you are inserting your USB cable.
One side of the Pixel C is the volume buttons and the USB Type-C port that you can plug the charger into.
The other side of the tablet has a power button.
Together with the Pixel C keyboard, you can transform your Pixel C into an open notebook or a clamshell-like closed notebook. The tablet tightly grips the keyboard using strong magnets but you have to make sure you have the correct side of the tablet aligned with the top of the keyboard.
In notebook mode, the tablet becomes the "screen" part of the notebook which you can adjust to different viewing angles.
Once you slide the tablet to the right or left from the keyboard, the keyboard detaches and you can go back to using the Pixel C as just a pure tablet. The keyboard is wirelessly connected with Bluetooth so it can still be used with the Pixel C in this pure tablet mode configuration.
If instead you just flip the keyboard so that the magnets are still alligned to the top of the keyboard but this time with the keys facing the screen, the keyboard is now in a clamshell configuration for the tablet, providing some amount of protection of the Pixel C. While useful when keeping your Pixel C together with the keyboard while moving the tablet around, keep in mind they are held together only by magnets so it's easy for the keyboard to become detached from the tablet if another force is applied.
When you turn on the Pixel C for the first time, the intial screen will ask you to Select the country that you are in.
In the Update tablet screen, select Next to let the updates download and install on the Pixel C.
In the next Got another device screen, you have the option to copy all the Google Accounts, apps, and data directly from another Android device. If you don't wish to transfer from another Android device, select No thanks.
Next enter your Google account's e-mail address. If you don't have a Google account, you will need to create one.
Once you add your Google account, you will then be asked to enter your payment information.
In the Google services screen, you can select options like automatic backup, using Google location services, etc.
You can also add another e-mail if you don't want to use your Google account as the sole e-mail account.
Next select the password mechanism for your Google Pixel C by choosing if you want to use a PIN, password or pattern.
You can add further security by requiring a PIN before the device starts up. You'll need to add the PIN a couple times to continue.
Like other Android phones, you can restore from a backup of another Android device associated with your account. This is different from the earlier step where you can directly transfer data from another Android device.
In the next screens, you have the options to accept notifications and Google Now.
Now you are all set to start using the Google Pixel C. You can continue to customize by changing the background, widgets and other settings.
Both the Chromebook Pixel (2015) and the Pixel C serve as a reference designs for other companies to adopt USB Type-C in their Chromebook and Android tablet designs. Expect to see more exiciting USB Type-C Chromebook and Android tablets from other brands coming in the future.