February 22, 2013
Google’s Pixel Chromebook Announced, With Touchscreen Capabilities
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Google yesterday announced their latest line of Chromebooks which run on their operating system, Chrome.Called “Pixel,” this laptop clearly has set its sights on Apple. Starting at $1,300, it´s similarly priced and similarly equipped as an entry level MacBook Air or Pro, but it´s what´s different which sets this laptop apart from the competitors, for better or worse.
Unlike any Apple laptop, the Pixel integrates a touch panel on top of the high resolution display.
"The idea was rethinking everything in the laptop," said Sundar Pichai, Google Chrome´s senior vice president, in a statement. "To design something that we believed was the best laptop possible for these users, people who want to live in the cloud.”
The touch panel is made of Gorilla Glass, the same glass used in products by Apple and many others, and is only there if you want to use it. Otherwise, a glass-etched track pad rests at the bottom, just like a real laptop.
"It's clear touch is here to stay and it's the future," said Sundar Pichai.
The Pixel´s most solid claim to fame is that it´s bested the MacBook Pro with Retina in terms of screen resolution. The Pixel´s 12.85-inch display bears a 2560 x 1700 resolution, giving it a pixel per inch (ppi) ratio of 239. This just slightly tops Apple´s 2560 x 1600 resolution with 227 ppi. This high-res screen, says Pichai, is just one of the ways the Pixel beats Apple.
"What you're getting from our hardware in many ways is far superior,” said Pichai.
Elsewhere, the Pixel runs somewhere in between the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. It´s Intel i5 Dual-Core 1.8 GHz is clocked slower than the entry levels for the Air and the Pro, while its 4 GB of RAM put it right in line with Apple´s super-thin portable machine.
The Pixel ships in two different configurations; One with 32 GB of memory on a solid state drive and another with 64 GB. The largest Pixel also has LTE connectivity, another slight plus on paper for the Pixel. The sizes of these drives more closely resemble something found in tablets, though, and this is the main sticking point of Pixel or any Chromebook.
These laptops run Google´s Chrome, a slick and always-ready operating system rendered almost useless without a live Internet connection. Chrome lives completely in the cloud, which means documents, emails, files and photographs can be constantly backed up and saved, thanks to Google´s Drive cloud-based storage system. Chrome is also a relatively safe OS, as updates are quietly and seamlessly issued to these systems automatically. However, to buy a Pixel is to completely buy into Google´s ecosystem, arguably a bigger leap than switching from PC to Mac in the early 2000´s. Unless you can do it on the web or the Google Play store has an app built for it, that thing, whatever it is, won´t be done. This means neither Apple´s iWork nor Microsoft´s Office will run natively on the Chrome, a move which some have suggested is Google´s way of encouraging people to leave Microsoft and jump head-first into Google´s suite of Office software.
As a nice little bonus, (Google calls it a “Goodie”) each Pixel purchase comes with free, 3-year access to 1 Terabyte of storage on Google´s Drive cloud storage. This may be enough to entice some users, as the price of this storage alone far outweighs the price of either Pixel model. The 32 GB, Wi-Fi only Pixel starts at a staggeringly high $1,299 and will begin shipping next week. The LTE-ready 64 GB version is scheduled to ship the first week in April and will set customers back $1,449.
Customers can place their orders for the Pixel now at the Google Play store or visit their local Best Buy.