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The Pixel C’s intriguing keyboard case

If Apple believes in tablet productivity, it should steal Google’s nifty magnetic hinge.

Walt Mossberg on the $149 keyboard accessory for Google’s new Pixel C tablet:

It’s sturdy and heavy enough to form a fair base for lap typing. And it has a very clever, very strong, magnetic hinge, which allows you to tilt the screen smoothly but confidently at a wide variety of angles. Not only that, but, while the keyboard is Bluetooth, it charges inductively from the tablet, so you never have to plug it in.

Reviewers have panned the Pixel C’s software, but I’m more interested in its primary accessory: a premium keyboard that attaches via dedicated magnets housed in the tablet’s case.

After a few weeks with a keyboard cover for the iPad Air 2, I’ve grown bullish on the tablet-with-keyboard trend. But for tablets to truly replace laptops as our workhorse machines, we need more keyboard designs like the Pixel C’s[1]—and fewer like the iPad Pro’s “Smart” Keyboard. Apple’s fabricky cover relies on goofy origami folds to prop up the iPad. Like the Microsoft Surface’s Type Cover, this design proves top-heavy and unstable when used on your lap.

The iPad Pro and iOS 9 seem to indicate that Apple now takes tablet productivity more seriously. To keep the ball rolling, next year’s iPads should make keyboard support a primary hardware feature, rather rather than an accessorized afterthought.

Step one? Steal that nifty magnetic hinge.

  1. The Pixel C’s keyboard isn’t perfect. There are no dedicated function keys for things like volume controls or screen brightness.  ↩