back to article Pixel 3, 3XL, Slate tab launch: Google emits swanky iPad botherer while tarting up mobes

The day after Google confessed to almost exposing the private data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ accounts to app developers, the ad giant unveiled perhaps the most-leaked phone in recent memory. The Pixel 3 and 3XL was actually available for purchase, in a way, before its launch event in New York today. First prototype …

  1. Flakk


    How do you kill that which is already dead?

    1. Shadow Systems

      Re: iPad-killer

      How to kill that which is already dead involves a wood chipper, a barge pole, & not barfing all over the place when the ichor starts to fly.

      Remember, skeletons can't play wind instruments & zombies can't sing worth a damn. That will help you weed them out of the crowd of supposedly still living.

      1. m0rt

        Re: iPad-killer

        "Remember, skeletons can't play wind instruments & zombies can't sing worth a damn. That will help you weed them out of the crowd of supposedly still living"

        Saint-Saëns would have you believe otherwise...

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: iPad-killer

      > How do you kill that which is already dead?

      The iPad's dead? Really? You'd better alert Adobe, since they're currently prepping a feature-complete Photoshop for iOS. I'm sure they'll be glad to hear from you.

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  3. Waseem Alkurdi

    The tablet is just par

    But being frank, the keyboard is awesome.

    And what's with the no-headphone-jack on a massive device? The 2011 iPad 2 had one, yet it looks even slimmer than this thing here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The tablet is just par

      For $199 the keyboard better be awesome!

      1. Teiwaz

        Re: The tablet is just par

        For $199 the keyboard better be awesome!

        For that much (even if it is in dollars) it'd better do the typing for me (I seldom pay more than £30 for a keyboard).

  4. Waseem Alkurdi

    The "Home Homie Hub" craze

    Isn't it just like the Media Center (the type of M$-saddled computer) of yore?

    Can't a Pi with a touchscreen and half a dozen of relays and a FOSS "dashboard" do the job?

    Damn, even an old tablet can suffice.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The "Home Homie Hub" craze

      Possibly could do a bit of it, however it would require quite significant set-up and a fair amount of programming, possibly lots of cabling and maybe some risky electric work (if you are intending the relays to directly switch the mains voltage).

      That project would be exciting to some, for sure and you'd have a lot more control over your privacy.

      However it would be a hard sell to pretty everyone else and if IoT, voice assistants etc are your thing and you are happy with the potential privacy concerns I would be tempted to just aim you towards the Amazon/Google route.

    2. <spez>

      Re: The "Home Homie Hub" craze

      I did have one of these almost 8 or so years ago, I guess things have moved on (slightly).

      I think I ended up braking the unit whilst trying to get Android-x86 on to it.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: The "Home Homie Hub" craze

        Never heard of this before, but from what I see, it's an x86_64 "computer". How the hell could it possibly break? Even if you're tampering with firmware, you can always hardware-level reflash the chip holding that.

        It seems that all you need is to image a USB stick with Android-x86 and boot the thing

  5. WolfFan Silver badge


    The _base model_ is $599. That gives 32 or 64 GB SSD ( isn't clear). The base iPad 6th generation is $329. $559 ($40 less than the base Pixel Slate) gets you 128 GB storage and both wifi and cellular. Yes, the Pixel Slate has an Intel processor instead of an ARM processor, but it's a _Celeron_. If I want a portable device with a Celeron, Dell has swarms of them in the $250-350 range. (No, I don't want a portable device with a Celeron...) And it doesn't have cellular connections, or at least the product specs page doesn't show it if it does. I use my iPad with a cellular connection (T-Mobile) a lot more than I use the wifi connection. My iPad has 128 GB storage. The Slate with 128 costs $999, or $450 more than my iPad, also known as enough to buy one of those Dell laptops. And have change. One of the things I use my iPad for is to tether my (elderly) laptop, which has a (older) i7 and which cost $700 when it was new. To get an i7 I'd need to spend $1599 on a Slate, and would still need something to connect to a cellular net, or be forced to use 3rd-party, untrustworthy, wifi. And a i7 Slate would have 256 GB storage, where my laptop has 1 TB. Why on Earth would I be interested in buying a Slate?

    And one more thing: to ask the question posed in El Reg's comments section about certain Microsoft products: can I reformat it and put a Linux distro of my choice on it? I can't do that with my iPad, of course, but I can do it with my laptop. After certain recent revelations about Google, I am quite reluctant to use either Android or Chrome OS.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: errmm...

      There is AltOS Mode, and there is GalliumOS (Ubuntu derivative with Chromebook drivers), and 'chrx' (a dual boot utility with support for Ubuntu et al)

      But bear in mind that touchscreen support on Linux is, to say the least, absolute horseshit.

      Could be alleviated using a tiling WM (I used i3), but it's not really awesome.

      But why dual-boot? On my touchscreen laptop/tablet, I resorted to running Android-x86 with Ubuntu in a chroot, available on demand. The only issues are the potential slurp (maybe lessened if you nuke Google Play Services) and the older (4.9) as opposed to bleeding-edge kernel (4.18 or newer).

    2. se99paj

      Re: errmm...

      "Why on Earth would I be interested in buying a Slate?"

      Think I have the answer - You're not interested in buying a slate, because Google aren't looking at you as a customer.

      Your perspective of value seems to be determined by individual hardware components - Not the complete solution.

      I'd expect Google are targeting this at people who are already on the Google ecosystem & those looking to tether their mobile phone. I also don't think they are targeting anyone interested in running Linux distros - As you've already pointed out there are cheaper alternatives so anyone buying a slate for this purpose would be crazy.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: errmm...

        Am I right in thinking that the first Google Pixel Notebook from a few years ago was only really intended for Google staff? No local storage is a feature if you don't want your employees taking your code home with them.

  6. Vector

    Google tablets

    As I suspected, Google has decided that Chrome OS (with Android support) is the future for tablets and Android will be limited to phones. I recently bought an Acer Chromebook to replace my tablet since I couldn't really find much to replace my old tablet (and certainly couldn't find anything larger than 10 inches that didn't require a second mortgage). It does run all the Android apps I want to run but it can be quirky about how it runs them and I'd really like to smack someone upside the head about their "shelf" implementation.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Google tablets

      certainly couldn't find anything larger than 10 inches that didn't require a second mortgage

      Aren't {corporate off-lease,used} viable in this case?

      And is an ARM chip a necessity?

      If you really need new, you can go for an x86_64 Atom or Core M tablet. Chinese ones cost around $250, and you can tinker to your heart's content.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Google tablets

        Is x86 a necessity? Some ARM based chips (Apple 7nm) are already beating Intel Thingy Bay at single threaded processes.

        It's just down to legacy software support. Possibly relevent if you're using full Linux, moot if you're using ChromeOS.

  7. YARR

    "no expansion" = more environmental damage

    Curious that even at this price bracket, they are designed with obsolescence in mind, yet low-end devices often take microSD cards.

    Not only should storage be expandable, but why has nobody created a standard for replacable RAM on mobile devices?

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: "no expansion" = more environmental damage

      > standard for replaceable RAM

      Because you pretty much can't service a modern cellphone at all. Just replacing a broken screen is a goddamned building-the-pyramids level of effort.

      1. YARR

        Re: "no expansion" = more environmental damage

        That's a design choice, not a necessity. The only limitation is getting enough address / data lines on a compact card similar to microSD.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "no expansion" = more environmental damage

      Things are going in the other direction. The only way you can upgrade or swap the RAM or SSD on Apple laptops is by soldering chips.

      And of course Microsoft (Surface) and Lenovo (Yoga) followed thinking they'd achieve Apple success by copying the shittiest aspects.

      Really, given what we currently know about the environment, that kind of shit should be illegal.

      1. ratfox

        Re: "no expansion" = more environmental damage

        The problem is that this kind of modularity goes directly against consumers' luxury wishes for sleeker designs/no bezels/watertight. It's like asking Ferrari cars to have a trailer hook.

        That said, there's a lot of Android models with expandable storage.

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: "no expansion" = more environmental damage

          Are they consumer wishes, or is it just companies foisting them on people, knowing those who pay the silly money for these are likely to be replacing them frequently anyway

  8. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Nope, went with Motorola instead

    I looked at them when my Nexus 6P died the other weekend, but they share a fault with Motorola's top end devices.

    No headphone jack equalled no sale.

    I went with a Moto G6 Play, which has a 4Ah battery that lasted over 6 days on a single charge, AND has a headphone jack, AND an SD card slot.

    That ought to tick all the commentard's boxes except for the removable battery.

    I do have to say as a guy still on Windows 7, and seriously hating OS upgrades, Oreo is a vast improvement over Marshmallow. That was a huge surprise for me.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Nope, went with Motorola instead

      Oreo is a vast improvement over Marshmallow

      You didn't try Nougat.

      Oreo is totally FUBAR compared to Nougat. And the latter *is* where the vast improvement over Marshmallow came from.

      No headphone jack equalled no sale.

      In the future, the headphone jack is going to be a feature to be noted in reviews as an "exclusive/audiophile/..." feature, not as a basic human right.

      1. Spazturtle

        Re: Nope, went with Motorola instead

        No audiophile would use the shitty worse-then-bluetooth audio that comes out of the cheap DAC+AMP that phones use for their 3.5mm jack. They would use a high quality USB DAC+AMP like they have been for the past 5 years.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Nope, went with Motorola instead

          The LG phones have very respectable Sabre DACs and amps. But yeah, for home listening why use the phone's output?

          For out and about use, such specs are usually overkill. 3.5mm socket is a convenience that lets me use cheap expendable earphones to listen to podcasts. If I were to spend the money I'd use some active noise cancelling headphones from Sony with the LDAC codec they contributed to Android. If I were being silly I'd investigate some USB-C headphones with their own tubed DAC and amp.

          Recently I've dug out some old Bluetooth earphones, love being divorced from the cable, hate the design flaws (which explains why they were dirt cheap)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nope, went with Motorola instead

      I got one for my OH for her b'day and its a very nice phone for £260!

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Nope, went with Motorola instead

        Not audiophile. I consider earphones to be consumable objects like driver bits - I break the cheap ones and lose the expensive ones.

  9. Wade Burchette Silver badge

    The notch

    It is awful, just awful.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi
      Thumb Up

      Re: The notch

      That was my impression as well.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Whilst the iPhone doesn't cover itself in glory, you can clearly see the Pixel photo is over-processed and I think it would look shithouse at full resolution on a 27" screen. There are clearly tell-tale halos around the buildings.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Photos

      I really don't think that a slight haloing (I can hardly notice it) is an issue for the use case of that photo.

      I'd want to see real world tests, but the photo is meant to show that it can do a low light capture and make it look like almost daylight, using a tiny sensor and middling pixel count. Not suitable for a magazine shoot, but good enough for a friends and family photo album.

      To me it looks pretty impressive, I'd like to see it compared to the Huawei P20 pro for low light.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Photos

        "the photo is meant to show that it can do a low light capture and make it look like almost daylight"

        So can any camera with a high enough iso speed and low enough shutter speed, which is exactly what this looks like.

        A family photo album might suffice for the quality, but forget 8x10. I have to agree that even this staged best case example looks pretty ugly. Of course people looking for SLR+ quality out of such a small sensor are delusional, but gimmicks like this don't help the reputation of phone cameras either. Expecting one thing on a 6" screen to only find out it looks very different on a 27" screen might make you feel cheated.

  11. Jason Hindle Silver badge

    I had high hopes for the Slate

    It disappoints. Looks like Google have sacrificed the processor, in the base model, in favour of other high end components (e.g. the screen). Both the base iPad and Surface Go offer a better balance of performance and function. Then there's the photos of the slate with its keyboard. No kickstand? I expect to see more useful devices from Google's partners. Android on tablet is dead, so Google needs to make this work if they want to stay in the tablet market.

  12. Gonzo wizard

    This seals the deal for me. The Apple deal, that is. Google have looked at the prices of the latest Apple phones and thought "we'll have some of that". I've been buying Nexus and Pixel devices off-contract for ten years (Nexus one - two, Galaxy Nexus - three, Nexus 6, 7, 8 and 9). I've bought my last Pixel. Glitchy hardware and OS issues that are never truly resolved...

    My most recent business phone - an iPhone 8 bought in September for £750 with 256Gb storage. Eyeing up an 8+ for personal use at £850 with 256Gb. Why would I buy a Pixel 3XL with half the storage for £970? Or a Pixel 2XL with half the storage for £700 (down from £900)?

    The keynote was amusing - especially during the Home Hub video demo - the 'requested' video was announced by the home hub before the presenter was halfway through his request!

  13. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    No SD card

    No sale.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: No SD card

      And similar threats of boycott over the last few years have really had an impact on the market.

      Since the default choice of Android phone in this price bracket is traditionally a Galaxy S or Note, just go with that. SD card, headphone slot, no notched screen, ability to sideload Pixel camera (G- cam) etc plus all the other bells and whistles Samsung throw in.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: No SD card

        plus all the other bells and whistles Samsung throw in.

        You mean TouchWiz aka Samsung Experience aka the very definition of horrible UX?

        If I were to get one, I'd nuke that from orbit and install AOSP (Project Treble) as soon as the wraps are off the damn thing.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: No SD card

          I was talking about hardware bells and whistles, as was inferred by the preceding items being hardware-based. IR iris scanner, Qi charging, mag strip emulator, grip detector, certified HDR compatability, pulse sensor, waterproofing... kitchen sink possibly, as is the Galaxy S tradition.

          TouchWiz is easily ignorable these days, and I say that coming from a Nexus to a Galaxy. I was very pleasantly surprised. Check out Andrew Orlowski's articles if you don't believe me.

          And Project Treble isn't AOSP as you put it. It's a modular framework that as a side effect has made AOSP-based ROMs far easier to use (and Android less dependant on ODMs releasing updated binary blobs) - though on Galaxy phones such faffing will kill features such as Knox and Pay. A normal person would just install a different launcher if they felt that much. It won't help you escape Google as a crippled AOSP build might, but that's not an issue exclusive to Samsung is it?

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