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Square designed a gorgeous $999 Android tablet that can only do one thing

Published Jun 19th, 2018 7:32PM EDT
Square Register Android Tablet

After all these years of iPad, Apple’s tablet is still the best one in town, and some of the better alternatives also look a lot like iPads. We haven’t seen an iPad “killer” and chances are we’ll never get one. That’s because the tablet market hasn’t been particularly exciting in recent years. Apple has been creating new high-end models while simultaneously looking to drop the entry price, while most Android vendors seem happy to sell cheap tablets rather than focusing on a high-end experience.

But it turns out someone made an Android tablet that looks good, and it’s more expensive than the iPad. However, it’s also a device that you can’t really buy, nor should you want to.

That’s not a tablet on a stand in the image above. That’s a Square tablet, and the stand is part of the design. So does this mean it’s actually a desktop? That secondary 7-inch tablet that needs to be connected to the 13-inch base to work is also part of the product.

Of course, it looks like an iPad from a distance, don’t they all?

The only purpose for this Square-made tablet is to process Square payments. It’s based on Android but doesn’t run any apps other than the Square payments app. It features an Ethernet port so that it can always rely on a steady internet connection, and it has no built-in battery.

If there’s one thing interesting about it that’s a secure enclave built by Square’s silicon team.

It’s also powered by Snapdragon 615 chips, which are hardly flagship CPUs, and packs just 16GB of flash storage. Did I say this Square tablet is meant only to process payments, and be admired while doing it?

As Wired explains Square has been designing this particular iPad replacement, the Square Register, for a while now. The company supposedly took “an obsessive approach to designing the product,” which is now available to businesses not happy with using iPads for the same purpose. Some 150 hardware designers and engineers worked on the device, including ex-Apple employees.

That said, the Square Register doesn’t mean that Square will get into the business of making Android tablets of its own in the future. But do expect to notice such devices in locations near you that take Square payments.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.