Google launched the Pixel Slate, which broadly speaking is a clone of Microsoft's Surface and its derivatives, with a bet that the company's artificial intelligence, Google Assistant, and software will be a differentiator.
The Pixel Slate is a convertible 2-in-1 Chromebook. Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of Hardware at Google, rolled out the Pixel Slate with the Pixel 3 and new Google Home Hub. Google outlined its hardware lineup at an event in New York.
What was most striking about the Pixel Slate is how much it looked like the Surface with its kickstand. The difference is that Pixel Slate will function as a Chromebook. The rumors turned out to be accurate. Perhaps the difference shouldn't be that surprising since Google did hire more than a few people who worked on the Surface team.
Google Pixel Slate: It isn't a laptop trying to be a tablet
Trond Wuellner, director of product management at Google, argued that the Google Pixel Slate is a new experience on Chrome OS and the ability to work with one hand. Machine learning customizes the app launcher based on your usage. "It isn't a laptop trying to be a tablet. Or a tablet that's really a phone," he said.
Indeed, the Pixel Slate has rounded edges in midnight blue and a display with 293 pixels per inch, dual front-firing speakers, 8GB to 16 GB of RAM, 3000x2000 display, and support for biometrics. Single USB-C ports are on the left and right side.
"Pixel Slate represents a new chapter for the Chrome OS," said Wuellner.
The Pixel Slate has a keyboard with round keys that snap into the base.
Not surprisingly, Google touted G Suite integration, a desktop Chrome browser that is the desktop version, Google Play integration for Android apps and the AI tools to go with a reimagined Chrome OS.
Portable and affordable, the Surface Go has launched at the right time to invade a coffee shop near you. But with Apple likely prepping new iPads, Microsoft still has work to do on the Surface's keyboard-free tablet experience.