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November 30, 2017

Goodbye to My Beloved Pixel C Tablet

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

It started out subtly. The screen dimmed. So I tapped the display, thinking the tablet might be locking itself. But, no, tapping didn’t un-dim the screen. I restarted the device.

Upon restart, the screen remained dim. I thought nothing of it. Then, after a monthly security update, the screen returned to normal.

About a month ago, however, the screen started acting weird. The right half of the screen would freeze. Sometimes on boot, the right half would appear pixelated, like noise on an analog TV set when it’s not tuned to any channel. Figure 1 illustrates.

Figure 1. The startup screen on my Pixel C tablet. It doesn’t get any better.

The touchscreen still worked. I could tap and swipe, but I couldn’t see anything on the right half of the display. When I would screencast the device, the entire screen showed up. These tests were indicative of a hardware issue.

Another problem: The device no longer locked. When the screen timed-out or I locked the device, the tablet turns itself off. I must press-and-hold the Power/Lock key for at least 8 seconds before the tablet turns on. This behavior is unacceptable.

I didn’t think anything of the hardware issue; the tablet was about two years old. Mobile devices aren’t guaranteed to last forever. I have older tablets that still turn on, but most of them are sluggish to the point of being useless. They no longer receive security updates. In fact, when people email me about problems with a 5-year-old tablet, I express amazement that the device lasted so long.

On the Google forums, I researched the problem. I wasn’t alone. Even newer Pixel C tablets suffer from the same fate. Definitely, the issue is a design flaw. Further, someone on the forums pointed out that if you press the screen at a specific spot, the full display becomes active again. Yep, that’s a hardware fault.

Because so many people were having the same issue, I believe the Pixel C tablet is flawed. I had originally planned to update to a new Pixel C, but now I’ve changed my mind. Google must address this issue before I invest further dollars into their hardware.

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