You might have heard of the Google ChromeBook Pixel by now, but perhaps you haven’t. The Pixel is Google’s stab at a high-end Chrome OS device that is made in-house, uses a touchscreen and commands an Apple-tax-like pricing point of $1,300.
Outside of its touch capabilities, it also is touted as the most impressive screen ever to grace a laptop, with a total of 4.3 million pixels, hence the laptop’s name. This sounds great but really, is it a threat to Windows 8 in any way, shape or form?
Chrome OS – Can It Compete?
The hardware for the ChromeBook Pixel is AMAZING. It is powered by a 1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core I5 processor, has Intel HD 4000 graphics, 4GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. While the storage and RAM could use improving, the rest is solid, and the design of the casing is very premium, again almost like something you’d expect from Apple or from Microsoft’s Surface team.
That’s not the problem, it’s the OS. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve actually had the honor to play around with a ChromeBook now and I don’t think they are bad. They are GREAT for those that do almost everything from the web and are highly involved with Google services like Drive, Docs, G+ and beyond.
Newer devices also work fine with many apps in off-line mode, so they aren’t exactly “bricks” without the Internet like some people would lead you to believe.
That said, they are about a quick, easy to use device that can be had on the cheap. In that capacity, they make sense, but for $1300? You could have a Surface Pro with max-storage, or for a little more could even get a 13-inch MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM, 128GB storage and a 2.5Ghz i5 processor.
The other problem with the Pixel is the touchscreen. I like the idea of touchscreen ultrabooks if apps are designed to utilize them properly. Unfortunately, few to no web apps are that optimized for the touch experience, at least not on the same level as iOS, Android or WP8/W8 apps. It just seems like an extra feature thrown in just because.
Of course, Google’s I/O event is coming soon and so is the rumored Android 5.0, a version that has been rumored in the past to somehow integrate better with Chrome OS. Perhaps a Chrome OS update is coming to the Pixel in the not-too-distant future that will give it more power-user features including perhaps the ability to run Android apps? If so, then it makes a bit more sense, but that’s still a high asking price – at least in my humble opinion.
What Google Should Have Done
As someone who works at several tech sites, including Google-related ones, I know people that like the idea of the ChromeBook but feel that current offerings are cheaper, plasticky junk. That said, many of these same people will likely feel that $1,300 for a ChromeBook isn’t an option.
Had Google released a Full HD ChromeBook (instead of its super display) without touch but used the high-end casing of the Pixel, it would have been more of a threat to Microsoft.
Google could be using the Pixel to lay the groundwork for something big. I would think this sounds like the case. After all, Google is a smart company that probably wouldn’t invest so much on the Pixel if they didn’t feel it at least had a niche market somewhere. I just haven’t see the pieces fit together just yet, personally.
For home users, this is an expensive price to pay for a cloud device. For the enterprise, the pricing isn’t the issue, the lack of more robust apps is, though. Of course you can probably load a dual-boot configuration of Windows or Ubuntu alongside this, but that’s extra time, effort, and cost involved.
What do you think of the Google ChromeBook Pixel, should Microsoft be at all concerned? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.