Left: A Photoshop fantasy. Right: The disappointing reality. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Was Android actually Google's third operating system choice for its new Pixel C tablet?

The Pixel C finally went on sale this week—but our full review notes that the convertible tablet feels like hardware in search of the software to make it a compelling product. Perhaps that's because, internally, Google engineers seem to have been searching for a compelling Pixel C software package for the last year and a half.

The contradiction between hardware and software is visible all over the tablet, so two examples will suffice. The hardware's keyboard and big screen would point to it being a productivity device, but the software's lack of a split-screen mode and apps optimized for the screen's size hamstring the Pixel C. The hardware seems geared for voice command functionality, given its array of four top-mounted microphones, but the software doesn't support Google's always-on voice commands.

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