Is Google's Pixel C worth buying?

Also in today's open source roundup: Linux apps can be hijacked by DNS servers, and Google will shut down Play for Education in March

Is Google's Pixel C worth buying?
Credit: Thinkstock

Is Google's Pixel C worth buying?

A writer at AnandTech did a full review of Google's Pixel C a while back, but now he's gotten a more up to date unit from the company. Has the Pixel C gotten better than when it was first reviewed? Or does Google still have room for significant improvements?

Brandon Chester reports for AnandTech:

...I suppose that the final question is whether or not my original verdict about the Pixel C still stands. That's a complicated question to answer, as the update from Google has addressed many, but not all of the issues I experienced with the original. There's also the fact that the update isn't available to the public, and Google can't commit to a firm date for when other users of the Pixel C will see these fixes. I suppose it's worth doing a recap of what has and hasn't changed before deciding if this changes things for the Pixel C.

The most significant improvement with the updated firmware from Google is the fix for broken touch input. I really cannot overstate just how broken touch is on the Pixel C with its shipping firmware, and the updated version feels like a completely different device. It's honestly like moving from a resistive touch display to a modern capacitive touch display, and even then, one could argue that resistive touch displays only had some of the problems that the Pixel C initially had. I think it's safe to say that this issue with the Pixel C is completely resolved, and that's a huge step toward making it a tablet that is worthy of commanding its $500 price.

On top of the fixes to touch input, the new software build has addressed a number of problems relating to performance and stability. I'm no longer experiencing frequent app and OS crashes, and in general there's far fewer stutters and slowdowns throughout the UI. Unfortunately, things aren't perfect. I still can't run our GPU battery test, which is really disappointing for Tegra X1's mobile debut. PCMark's battery test doesn't work for me either, even with the public version from Google Play. The test runs for some period of time, but eventually crashes, and I simply can't keep running it in the hopes that one run will eventually make it through. There are also a lot of applications that are just janky, including Google's Calendar app, and of course the eternally problematic Google Play and Google Chrome.

I'm still reluctant to recommend high priced Android tablets due to the application situation, along with continued issues relating to input latency, multitasking, and gestures. However, if you really need something running Android then the Pixel C is an obvious option to consider. At the very least, the Pixel C will be greatly improved when Google releases this software to the public, which is slated for sometime this month. If Google keeps to that schedule, the update will be here in a little over a week at most. Once that happens I'll feel comfortable recommending the Pixel C provided you're okay with Android's general lack of tablet apps, and that's something that I certainly couldn't have said before.

More at AnandTech

Linux apps can be hijacked by DNS servers

Security is an ongoing battle for all computer operating systems, and Linux is no exception. Recent reports in the media have noted a vulnerability in the GNU C Library. This allows DNS servers to exploit the flaw and hijack some Linux apps.

Iain Thomson reports for The Register:

A huge amount of Linux software can be hijacked by hackers from the other side of the internet, thanks to a serious vulnerability in the GNU C Library (glibc).

Simply clicking on a link or connecting to a server can lead to remote code execution, allowing scumbags to steal passwords, spy on users, attempt to seize control of computers, and so on. Any software that connects to things on a network or the internet, and uses glibc, is at risk.

The glibc library is a vital component in the vast majority of Linux distributions, meaning the security cockup is widespread in the open-source world.

The flaw, discovered separately by researchers at Google and Red Hat, is a stack-based buffer-overflow bug in glibc's DNS resolver – which is used to translate human-readable domain names, such as, into a network IP address.

More at The Register

Google will shut down Play for Education in March

Google is known for ending services it no longer wishes to support, and now the company has announced that Play for Education will be shut down in March, in favor of a greater emphasis on the Chromebook platform.

Rob Triggs reports for Android Authority:

Google has been running a small segment of its Play Store designed specifically for educational users for the past two years, as part of the tech giant’s efforts to increase tablet adoption in schools. However, the Play for Education initiative will be coming to an end sometime next month, as there simply isn’t that much demand for the service.

Google has announced that it will cease selling Play for Education licenses in about a month’s time, essentially bringing an end to the scheme. This means that new schools won’t be able to buy and install apps in bulk batches for students any more. However, institutions that already own licenses will continue to see support for their tablets until their end-of-life date.

More at Android Authority

Did you miss a roundup? Check the Eye On Open home page to get caught up with the latest news about open source and Linux.

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