Google’s Pixel C is an enigma of a product; it likely started life as a Chrome device, and switched to Android at the last minute, and there’s evidence of this throughout the product (the way the recovery/fastboot options work is telling). Likely as a result of this, there are some teething issues that an Android device just shouldn’t have, and one of the more annoying has been issues with the Pixel C Keyboard.
Users have complained of Bluetooth issues, including connectivity, delay in typing showing on the screen, as well as issues with the tablet itself refusing to power on (requiring a hard boot to get it working). Despite promises of regular updates, the Pixel C didn’t receive an update in January (in line with Android’s monthly security updates), but it has now just received a February 2016 OTA (which arrived on my Pixel C last night).
Included in this release is a new firmware for the Pixel C Keyboard, which installs when the tablet first boots with the new version; it takes a few moments to install, and the keyboard automatically reconnects when its finished updating. While it’s early days, the update does seem to improve the slow typing issue, and it may have improved connectivity as well, though it’s too early to really say.
What the Pixel C really needs, more than a monthly security update, is proper productivity improvements to Android itself; split-screen multi-tasking, or windowing like Samsung offers on its devices. Without this, the Pixel C remains a glorified tablet that can’t quite kick into full productivity mode (though, that said, I still love it).
If you have a Pixel C and haven’t yet received the February 2016 OTA update, you can download it manually here and apply it using ADB Sideload. The instructions are fairly simple, and familiar for anyone who’s done it before — reboot your tablet to recovery mode (power and volume down when powering it on), and it’ll say “No Command”. Press and hold power for a second or two, then tap volume up. Select ADB Sideload from the menu, and use the adb shell command to send the OTA across.
If that doesn’t make sense to you, don’t try it; you’ll get the OTA update in a few days the normal way. Just check for updates 🙂