Google Releases the Pixel: A $999 Chromebook

Subject: Mobile | March 12, 2015 - 02:56 PM |
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Until yesterday virtually all Chromebooks had two things in common: low-end specs and equally low prices. Most sell for around $200 and are available from virtually every manufacturer, and the relative success of these Google Chrome OS laptops in the post-netbook portable space has relied on price. Now Google has announced a new concept for a Chromebook: give it high-end specs and charge $999.

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Is it reasonable to assume in 2015 that a user could be perfectly content using cloud storage and web-based apps to accomplish daily tasks? In many cases, yes. But asking $1k on the strength of better hardware is going to be a difficult sell for a Chromebook. The specs are impressive, beginning with a very high resolution 2560x1700 touchscreen, and like the new MacBook this is also sporting USB Type-C connectivity (with the same 5Gbps speed as the Apple implementation).

The pricing for this device continues a disturbing trend, coming just days after Apple's announcement of a Core M MacBook for $1299. In appearance the Pixel seems to borrow rather heavily from the MacBook Air design with a silver finish, glass trackpad, and backlit island-style black keyboard. If the build quality and screen are top notch then Google may have some justification for the price, but with the limitation of just 32GB of local storage (an additional 1TB cloud storage is offered at no cost for 3 years) and an OS that can only run applications from Google's Chrome store, the price does seem high.

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Specs from Google below:

    • 12.85" multi touch display, 2560 x 1700 (239 ppi), 400 nit brightness, 178° viewing angle
    • Intel® Core™ i5 processor @ 2.2GHz, 8GB memory or Intel® Core™ i7 processor @ 2.4GHz, 16GB memory
    • Intel® HD Graphics 5500, supports 4K video output over DisplayPort or HDMI with optional Type-C video adapter cable
    • 32GB or 64GB of flash storage
      Backlit keyboard, fully clickable etched-glass trackpad
    • 720P HD wide angle camera with blue glass
    • 2x USB Type-C (up to 5Gbps data, 4K display out with optional HDMI or DisplayPort™ adapter, 60W charging)
    • 2x USB 3.0
    • SD card reader
    • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 2x2, Bluetooth 4.0
    • High power stereo speakers, built-in microphone, headphone/mic combo jack
    • Universal Type-C USB Charger, 60W
    • Up to 12 hours of battery life
    • Dimensions: 11.7” x 8.8” x 0.6”, 3.3lbs

If you're ready for the $999 Chromebook experience the Pixel is available now from Google's online store.

Source: Google

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March 12, 2015 | 03:30 PM - Posted by Bill D Strong (not verified)

Um, this is the SECOND Pixel from Google, and the earlier version was more expensive, starting at $1299, I believe. Both have touch screens and the same resolution display.

This one bumps the specs up nicely.

March 12, 2015 | 04:00 PM - Posted by Bianchi4me (not verified)

32 gig drive is a weak point, given the price point. Sub $200 tablets out there with that much storage. Ability to output 4k video is nice, but it would also be nice to have enough space to park some 4k content on the device.

March 12, 2015 | 04:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Tell me when they get the USB type-c "Gen 2" that's connected to the USB 3.1 controller chip(10Gbs), I was hoping that this new pixel would get USB 3.1 connectivity via having a 10Gbs USB 3.1 controller chip(or 2) on the laptop device's motherboard. At least with the Thunderbolt standard there is single and dual thunderbolt controller chipset SKUs. The one thing I do not like about the USB products, is nobody makes any dual USB 3.0 controller chipset SKUs, and most laptops' USB 3.0 ports are sharing bandwidth with a single USB 3.0 controller chip. If USB 3.1 is ever to be a replacement for thunderbolt, then devices will have to come with an option for a 1 USB 3.1/other port to 1 USB 3.1 controller chip ratio, and no bandwidth sharing. USB 3.1 is a start, and the 10Gbs will probably be more than most people need, shared bandwidth or not.

If you get a chance to review the new Pixel, don't forget to try out the Ubuntu via crouton install option. I am very interested in seeing some full Linux options tested on the Pixel.

March 12, 2015 | 05:37 PM - Posted by collie

Ummmmmm, what the fuck are you gona use an i7, or even an 15 for on chrome os? Even BayTrail is more than enough power, the ones with haswell celerons were fine.

Also I think there WAS another high end high price Chromebook, I remember hearing it reviewed on the pcpro (not pcper) podcast, but that's all I remember.

This is just another example of how google gets to google around, some people inside google wanted a high end Chromebook, had one made, figgured "Let's put it on the shelves, see if it sells." Power of having money trees.

March 12, 2015 | 06:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What possesses to launch your fumbling/ill-informed diatribes at the use of an i7 or i5(most likely dual core U series for both i7, and i5 Intel SKUs) in the new Chromebook Pixel, for sure the Intel GPU graphics capabilities are stretched to the max just handling the native resolution of the Pixel. People get this and sideload a full Linux distro, and do software development, and the screens aspect ratio is great for coding. I'd love to see this with a quad core i7. Hopefully some AMD future SKUs could be offered, the graphics would be better. But what are you sniffing, or are you huffing toluene! Sure Google is certainly not the "do no evil" company they never were, they have single handedly ruined the internet search engine as an proper researching tool, with their search engine algorithms fighting users, every step of the way, trying to point to Google's ad partner's useless click-bait websites, but the pixel is nice for some tasks, once a full Linux distro is side loaded and some real work can be done.

You are out of it, even for your usual self, what gives with your inferiority complex! The Pixel is overpriced but that screen is not to shabby for the bucks, the SOCs are a bit week for my taste, and need to be more powerful and to hell with the battery life, at least on one SKU option. The Chrome OS, and the cloud stuff is of no interest to me, but there are some good things the Pixel brings to the table.

March 12, 2015 | 07:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

such a cocksmugler

March 13, 2015 | 10:41 AM - Posted by collie

You actualy argue FOR my point.(you dont have to be so rude you know, I wonder if your mother would approve of the way you speak to others digitally, although I am forced to assume you are smart enough to be polite to others when they are within striking distance.... but I'm getting WAY off topic)

The fact is that as a CHROMEBOOK RUNNING CHROME-OS the Pixel is OVERKILL. the screen is great, but CHROME-OS is a lightweight OS designed for basic tasks. CHROME-OS has no use for a higher-power CPU. True you need a little bit of GPU kick to handle that screen, but it's just as easy and WAY CHEAPER to pair a ATOM with an entry-level M-GPU for exactly the same user experience, or use a Tegra CPU and kick Iris Pro's ass.

A ChromeBook has Chrome-OS, if you change the OS than it'a a laptop. If you change the OS on the Pixel than you have a Laptop with 32gb of storage. Have fun with that.

And finally, there is nothing wrong, and I said nothing negative about Google Google-ing around. They DO create products that are want in house, then market them to see if they sell, and sometimes they do. It's one of the luxury's of having money trees, but it does end up with alot of stuff that looks cool but no-one would spend hard earned money on. It's the same story with Microsoft PixelSense (originally known as surface) they wanted it for in house, then put it up for sale so see if anyone wanted it, and a few did.

You Sir (or Madam or Person or whatever) need to relax, and stop reading so much hate where there is none.

March 13, 2015 | 11:17 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No you need even more verbal smack-down, your continued straw man with regards to the technology aspects is what is earning you the rabid dunce fainboi moniker. All of your rants smack of having an illogical agenda, and I'll have none of that. I'll give credit to the Great Ad Spaffer(Google) where credit is dew, and the Pixel in not a totally bad device, not by any stretch of the imagination. Your attempts at finding commonality between yourself and me are just that. You are the most inanely annoyingly obvious through your own actions, Fanboi, with no real knowledge of, or desire to obtain Knowledge of, technology. Take that rabid fanboism to the sports coliseum where your limited intelligence will not be as much of a disadvantage. You bring shame to yourself with each new utterance. You are just looking for an ego boost, to your already pathological inferiority complex. Your attempts at digressing and backpedaling will curry you no favor!!

The entire Technology/internet industry has a problem, but your rabid fanboism is not going to get you anywhere. You are a marketing monkey's dream, so easily brought into the brand's fold as a messianic adherent to a makers brand.

March 13, 2015 | 11:53 AM - Posted by obababoy

Where credit is dew? So credits are wet. Maybe you typed this on your phone? Either way, you are an idiot. This device is dumb because 99% of people wont throw linux on there and it is over powered and over priced for it's primary use. Your analogies, references, and use of our English language gives people headaches, so just stop!

March 14, 2015 | 05:35 PM - Posted by collie

Cards on the table, I had a super bad day yesterday, like horably bad, and I kept reading your words and getting angry, very angry, angry to the point where if we were in the same room I would end up in jail and you would end up in the hospital at best, morgue at worst. So I guess you succeeded in your attempt to annoy and aggravate, and I assume that you get some weird little rush of pleasure knowing that you are making people as miserable as you must feel inside. BUTTTTTT all that anger didn't belong to you, it was my day crumbling around me, situations that I wont discus here, some of my making some not, all making my life hell, and there you were, being a little piss taker trolling for anger and sadness. And I bit, hook line and sinker.
I wrote several responces that explained all the horable things I was wishing upon you, a total stranger, and ended up erasing them rather than sending, because that was the right thing to do. I'm quite embarrassed to say alot of senarios involved painful death of a loved one while you are left behind, and that is horable, and should never be thought let alone told to another.

So I am asking you, as a human to another human, as someone who loves and has loved computers his whole life to another human who clearly feels the same, to please let this go. If you hate my opinions that much just dont read them. If you know things that I don't know THAT'S AWESOME, please educate, I love to learn. just stop with the hate, the Anonymous, it doesnt add anything to anyone's life, it doesn't teach, and I dont think it actualy helps you in any way, it just annoys the virtual community that is PCPER, from the frogs to the forms to the cast to the site.

March 12, 2015 | 07:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

EXACTLY MY POINT!! Its retarded!!

March 14, 2015 | 08:36 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well it is Chrome, so it probably need all the horsepower it can get ;)

March 12, 2015 | 06:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"Intel® Core™ i5 processor @ 2.2GHz, 8GB memory or Intel® Core™ i7 processor @ 2.4GHz,-"

This is insufficient information for me to make any informed decisions for any valid consumer comparison. I'm tired of having to call customer support, who in most cases is only interested in harvesting my personal information(Name, Phone number) for establishing a lead sheet/marketing list with my, and other callers names on it. Could you obtain the exact Makes and model numbers of the various Intel CPU/SOC SKUs that are offered with the new Chromebook Pixel. I need the Full Processor Name, Make, and model number, for each Intel SOC SKU option, so I can research the processors using Intel's ARK database/Knowledgebase.

This Lack Of TRUE full system specifications available at point of sale retail, and online is getting seriously annoying. When I purchased my first laptop, The retailer had in the store in a Lexan BOX next to the display model, a 2 page, single spaced, PDF printout, with the laptop's full specifications, including the full processor make and model number, and optional processor make/model numbers, and the DDR RAM memory(full specification), hell the PDF datasheet even listed the RAM memory's OEM SKU number, in which to order extra memory as an option. WTF is with Google, and even worse Apple, and their inability to properly list the specifications that any consumer needs to make any attempt at an informed purchasing decision!

March 12, 2015 | 07:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Back when you bought your first laptop, the RAMs and torques were probably very important. These days, it's weight, battery life. Don't worry - your FarmVille will load up just fine

March 13, 2015 | 12:16 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Who gives a rats a$$ about some low polygon mesh models skinned/bumped mapped/textured to poorly approximate reality. I'm more concerned with high polygon count mesh models with every last detail mapped out with vertices and polygons, and letting the ray tracing algorithms do the entire accurate/lifelike rendering. I'm not talking about rendering at 60 FPS, I'm talking about rendering a single image, in a single frame that takes hours to generate. I need processor specs down to the make, model number, and even the processor revision/stepping.

I need the motherboard schematics with each controller/other chip labeled and serial#/SKU number displayed. For damn sure I need bandwidth figures(maximum theoretical bandwidth, and best case/worst case amortization). I sure as hell don't want any processor SKU with a TSX errata posted, and the TSX instructions disabled in the UEFI/BIOS. What if I am using virtualization, and I want the TSX instructions, for sure I need the processors Make and Model number, and at least the processor's revision/stepping version number, if the errata/hardware bug was fixed in a revision/stepping. It's fast getting to the point where the PC/Laptop/mobile devices market needs specifications/labeling regulations, in the same vain as the auto industry strict labeling/specifications listings regulations, where the proper amount of information is required, and any obfuscated, underreporting/misleading of proper/complete specifications results in fines/penalties!

Define "torques" in the context of laptop/PC technology/nomenclature! I'm finding Spin-transfer-torque MRAM, but I do not think the technology is in use currently?

Anyways, many people are buying the Pixel for the extra vertical screen real-estate and coding, and the build quality, as they will be using the device for long periods everyday, that includes getting a full Linux development build, with all the needed SDKs/compiler/etc. necessary. Too bad the Type-c bandwidth is limited to the Gen 1 (5 Gbs) USB 3.0 spec. Having the Type-c Gen 2 (10gbs) would allow for the OS/s, other applications, to be run fast/Faster from an external SSD/HDD RAID.

March 12, 2015 | 07:40 PM - Posted by Cristian (not verified)

Storage size = FAIL

March 12, 2015 | 08:39 PM - Posted by ThorAxe

Ageed. It *may* have been worth it with a 128GB SSD so that the user could install Windows on it, but in it's present state it's largely useless.

March 13, 2015 | 05:36 AM - Posted by Parn (not verified)

Max 64GB flash storage without xpandable storage slots at $999? NOT for me.

March 13, 2015 | 08:28 AM - Posted by -- (not verified)

um, not paying 1000.00 for a web browser.

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