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Image credit: Nathan Ingraham

Google Pixel Slate owners are reporting serious memory failures

The issue starts with small bugs but quickly gets worse.
Daniel Cooper, @danielwcooper
November 2, 2020
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Image of Google Pixel Slate in face-view taken as part of our review of said tablet.
Nathan Ingraham

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Google’s Pixel Slate may be on the cusp of a reliability crisis that’ll dwarf the beleaguered slate’s previous hiccups. A report at AndroidPolice says that a handful of users are seeing their file systems shudder into read-only mode, which they say is likely a flash memory failure. If true, then it may mean that Google can’t simply push a software update to remedy the problem, which renders the device less than useful. 

Posts on Google’s support forum indicate that there will be a period of minor errors, like icons fading to gray and crashing apps. These will then degenerate into a more severe problem, where any action that writes to disk fails, preventing you from launching apps or downloading files. The report says that rebooting, resetting, factory resets and power cycling may fix the issue in the very short term, but not forever. 

Google’s Pixel Slate launched with plenty of fanfare but sadly was not particularly well-received by the public. The Chrome OS-running tablet was priced as an ultra-premium iPad Pro / Surface Pro rival that could replace your daily driver computer. Yes, there was a $599 base model, but the figure rose closer to a grand when you went for better specs and the all-important keyboard folio. 

Unfortunately, while the device looked good, the software was read-the-review-if-you-don’t-believe-me levels of bad. Many of these rough edges were smoothed out with updates, but there was a reason the company started selling the high-end tablet, and keyboard folio ($199) as a $549 bundle last year shortly before being withdrawn.

In 2019, a Google representative did say that the team was aware of the problem on the support forums, but it’s not clear if a fix was ever found. We have reached out to Google to learn more.

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