Computer

Everything you need to know about the Pixel Slate

The Pixel family is about to welcome a new member on October 9: The Pixel Slate (also known under the code name “Nocturne”), a new Pixel tablet that uses Chrome OS and may provide a viable alternative to Chromebooks for many Google fans.

But what do we know about the Pixel Slate? Here’s everything we can say about the Slate’s specs, design, and important features. Check it out, and if you’re interested, remember to stop by Digital Trends on October 9 to get all the latest updates on Google’s new products.

A thin and simple design

Leaked Slate Images

There are two leaked renders of the Pixel Slate, and they show a very thin, display-focused tablet connected to a couple third-party keyboards. Compared to contemporary tablets, it has a surprisingly sturdy, beveled design that appears to include a USB-C connection. The bezels appear to have been cut back from where they were on the original Pixelbook.

Google source code has revealed that the “Nocturne” will have a 3,000 x 2,000 screen. That’s a pleasant 3:2 ratio, and a good resolution for a Pixel tablet, so this seems likely to persist to the final product. By comparison, the Surface Book 2’s 13.5-inch display has the same resolution.

Note that the Pixel Slate will include a camera and light sensor array as well, which the renders do not show. However, you can still get a good idea of what to expect.

Intel 8th-gen processor

PhoneArena has uncovered information that the Pixel Slate will ship with an Intel Core i7-8500Y processor. This is particularly remarkable because a lot of Chromebooks still use an ARM chipset. Google is making a statement by upgrading to an 8th-gen Amber Lake Intel processor for its tablet: It’s not quite competitive with today’s powerful notebooks, but you can also expect performance improvements for Chrome OS similar to what the original Pixelbook (which also uses Intel) offers.

Specifically, this chip offers 1.5GHz base speed with a max turbo option of 4.2 GHz, and is expected to come with up to 16GB of RAM. Based on what we know of Google’s Pixel ambitions, this wouldn’t be surprising, although many expect Google to offer more than one tier of Slate specs, which means lower RAM and perhaps even a less powerful chip could be an option. According to a recent leaked benchmark, some believe 8GB of RAM will be included in the base model.

Other Nocturne code indicates that the Pixel Slate will support NVMe solid state drives, so it’s likely the tablet will include an SSD. It’s also possible that Google will offer multiple versions of the Slate, some with eMMC SSDs and others with NVMe SSDs. NVMe is faster, but Google might want a lower-cost option as well.

Cross-platform support

Google Pixelbook android apps
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Chrome OS now has Linux app supporter, Android Pie, and the Slate may also have the potential to run Windows 10 along with the Pixelbooks. That opens up a lot of possibilities for creative solutions and importing apps on demand from other platforms to finished a project.

Expect to hear a lot more about this at Google’s October 9 conference, including some long-awaited details on the ability to handle Windows 10.

Fingerprint sensor

A leaked animated image of the Pixel Slate in use indicates that the tablet will have a fingerprint sensor on the top of the display. Press the sensor, and you can unlock the computer: We know that Google has been wanting to include fingerprint sensors on Chromebooks, and the Slate is an excellent product to include fingerprint scan functionality. This isn’t a guarantee that the tablet will ship with biometrics, but it’s more likely than not.

In addition to the probable keyboards from the Slate renderings that were leaked, it’s also likely that Google is developing its own keyboard the tablet. Brandon Lall spotted a brief glance of Nocturne in a bug report that showed an interesting keyboard featuring oval keys. Maybe this was just a prototype, or perhaps Google really is bringing a round-keyed attachable keyboard to the market. It’s ambitious! It’s also a little weird. Does Google really think that the time has come for round keys on a tablet attachment, or was this just a prototype to be forgotten?

Since this is a tablet, Google’s Pixelbook Pen is also very likely to work with the Slate. There may well be more third-party accessories out there, but if any are waiting, we haven’t heard rumors about them quite yet.

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