Google's Pixel Chromebook is Microsoft's delight

Google's Pixel Chromebook is Microsoft's delight

Summary: Google's overpriced and feature-limited new Chromebook Pixel is the best thing to happen to Microsoft's Surface Pro.


I read about how software and service companies shouldn't get into the hardware business, and I think to myself, why not? A huge company like Google has the brainpower and financial resources to do anything, don't they? After all Apple and even Microsoft are making their own hardware.

google pixel
Google's new Pixel Chromebook

Now I know why not. After Google's Nexus Q flop last year, they've returned with a US$1,299 Web browsing device wrapped up in "anodized aluminum alloy".  The Internet can now take a pause from bashing Microsoft's Surface Pro for being too expensive as a laptop since Google's Pixel makes the Surface Pro (and Surface RT) look affordable and useful in comparison.

Congratulations Google for out-Appling Apple...long famous for charging a premium for a product with less features.  If you have an existing laptop and would like to experience Pixel now, just set it to launch Chrome on startup and restrict access to anything outside of that. For an even better Pixel experience, use the Surface Pro for your touchscreen needs (plus you get a tablet mode too, for cheaper!).

Existing Chromebook makers such as Acer and Samsung must be overjoyed with Google's Pixel.  They have models available at more affordable (yet possibly still unrealistic for what you get) prices. Similar to menu design in a restaurant where they put a high-price item next to a medium-price item, which then looks affordable and a better buy, people might feel like these cheap Chromebooks must be worth it since there is an expensive "premium" Pixel version available.

At least Google Glass looks promising...

Topics: Hardware, Google, Laptops, Tablets, Microsoft Surface


Howard spent 14 years in the tech industry working as a programmer, evangelist, and community manager for Microsoft. In 2009, he had lived his "dream" of middle-management long enough and opened a Japanese restaurant called Standing Sushi Bar. Trading in stock grants and software licenses for raw fish and cash, he enjoys mixing his passion for technology into the daily hustle of small business.

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  • That is a perfect review of Chromebook Pixel, on the dot

    Actually just this line is sufficient to describe Chromebook Pixel, I hope SJVN keeps his foot the place it is for now.

    " If you have an existing laptop and would like to experience Pixel now, just set it to launch Chrome on startup and restrict access to anything outside of that"
    • oulxfer@...And the reasons are why Chromebook Pixel will win

      — Google today showed off a sleek touch-screen laptop based on its Chrome operating system, making a big bet on a premium-priced, cloud-based machine in direct aim at Apple.

      The Mountain View, Calif., search giant unveiled the new touch laptop, called the Chromebook Pixel, at a press event here. The touch-screen device has the highest resolution available in a laptop, says Google.

      "It's clear touch is here to stay and it's the future," said Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome at Google.

      Google's Chromebook Pixel, a sleek aluminum-encased machine, in many ways physically resembles Apple's Mac lineup.

      But the Pixel targets a generation of people whose photos and applications are accessed via remote servers from so-called cloud-based services. That's because nowadays people spend most of their time in a Web browser on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon or any number of services. The new Chromebooks will provide people 1 terabyte of data storage in the cloud for three years.

      "We think this is a real game changer in terms of people living in the cloud," said Pichai.

      Google's Pixel screen tops the 2560-by-1600 resolution of Apple's Macbook Pro with its Retina display, which Apple has previously touted as the highest-resolution notebook ever.

      "What you're getting from our hardware in many ways is far superior" to Apple, said Pichai.

      Pixel laptops will be available at $1,299 for a 32 GB Wi-Fi version (shipping next week) and $1,449 for 64GB 4G LTE version (scheduled to ship the first week of April). People can order them today at the Google Play store and tomorrow at Best Buy stores.

      Google has been turning up the heat on Microsoft's Windows and Office franchise. The Chromebooks from their very beginning featured a boot up time of a few seconds and quick access to Chrome search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube and Docs. Now, the Pixel has added an integrated Google Drive with the massive storage addition.

      Hardware manufacturers of those non-touch models include Samsung, Acer, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard, with prices starting at just $199..

      "Google smells blood" at Microsoft, said IDC analyst Crawford Del Prete. "They are an incredibly interesting proposition."

      The new Chromebook is just over half an inch thick and and weighs 3.3 lbs. The Pixel has a 12.85-inch display that has twice as many pixels as a standard HDTV, with 2560 X 1700 resolution, and uses Gorilla Glass, the durable glass used in Apple's iPhones.

      "It is the highest resolution that has ever been shipped on a laptop," Pichai said.

      The Pixel packs an Intel Core i5, a dual-core 1.8GHz processor, and has 4GB of DDR3 RAM memory. Google says the device's battery lasts up to 5 hours.

      Google's Chromebook Pixel is designed in house but made by several manufacturers based in Taiwan.
      Over and Out
      • Really??

        "That's because nowadays people spend most of their time in a Web browser on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon or any number of services."

        I'd love to know who all these people are that spend their days in a web browser on Google, Facebook and Twitter. Can I have their jobs? Apparently they're able to make a living without accomplishing a single damn thing beside wasting time.

        I almost always have a web browser open, but it's in the background 90% of the time while I'm.... you know... working.
        • PC987 that is a fair question

          for you answer, you have to look at who posts all day long on Zdnet. We have so many posters that spend the whole day posting here...........make a list and you'll know who I mean....people say they're paid to sit here al day long and post the same thing over and over again.

          But after a short period in time you'll understand why heir isn'y much to gained by coming to Zdnet.....................
          Over and Out
          • @Howard L

            Its very easy to take a position on anything without a thinking cap. Unfortunately, if you don't use your thinking cap, you end looking foolish for missing the bigger picture.

            For someone to have invested money on to this product at that price. Someone within Google must approved it. Those people always ask themselves, " will this improve the bottom line of my bonus...”. And they don't make foolish mistakes (@MS there is one that gets away with these mistakes, as well as @NOK. They both lost too much market share and missed the boat entirely!, all others get fired).

            Google has had its share of bad products, though they would push these as part of the envelope of new ideas that could be tested at no or very little cost. The Pixel is neither, so it must serve a business objective. You can become smarter if you only ask yourself: Why would they do this? What does it accomplish? Where is the benefit for Google?

            Those who can answer these questions solidly, can see the big picture. They shape your world and your options.

            If you just base your stand on bashing and comparing items, you only look like a kid with an opinion, which is trying to influence the market. This is every kid with an internet enabled device in this world.
          • Foolishness

            I'm not sure why you think Google might be different than MS or Apple. Look at Microsoft's Kin phone disaster and Apple's Newton (though it's now remembered fondly).

            Of course everyone who worked on it thought they were working on something great and revolutionary. Sometimes the end result just doesn't fit what the market wants.

            Here's a movie comparison - the folks that made Waterworld didn't know they were making a movie that would result in... Waterworld.
          • Most Mac owners are Foolishness

            so how is this any different. Now mind you I'm not including people who buy Mac's because they know and get OSX and/or certain applications are more suited to their needs of using a Mac.

            I'm talking about the soritory girls, the grandma and grandpa and the wannabe hippsters who all HAVE TO HAVE A MAC . All spend well over $1,000 to do exactly what you are wigging out about. My sister in law bought a Mac simply to have a Mac and you know what all these people do on it? Watch YouTube, Facebook, shop and listen to music.

            Look around you all those people who have Mac's try and guess of all those people who just droped over a grand on it are using it because a OSX and it's applications.

            So really please, use Chrome use it more for a week and then come back and write your blog again.
          • @jonandkelly

            Err... Macbook Air and Macbook Pro (starting price) are still cheaper than the Chromebook.
          • what a idiotic statement

            What are you talking about? you obviously have never had a MAC to know it's superior to a Windows based machine. Your jealousy shines through your comments. I'm not going to get into a Mac versus Windows debate with someone who makes such ignorant comments. I can tell you we have replaced some 200 PC's in our company with Mac's and as a result our IT buget has went down at least 75%. If we really need a windows environment we fire up a Vmware Fusion windows box running on a bank of Mac Pro's and we use them.

            No idea what you are talking about the average user is using MAC for web based stuff (youtube, browsing, etc). Tell's me you have never used a MAC to see all the other apps available.

            ChromeBook, give me a break. How can someone compare basically a netbook with a Mac, no comparison, apples to oranges. Why anyone would pay $1500 for something like this is ridiculous, heck just go get a $200 netbook.

            Lets see if the Chromebook can run virtual machines, do non-cloud based engineering solutions at blazing speeds. All while having no viruses, always works, startup time in seconds. By the way Chrome Sucks! horrible compared to Firefox & Safari.

            So go ahead, keep running your crappy PC/notebook and dealing with all the viruses, trojans, slow startup times, and constant slowing down over time. I'll stick with my Mac's and very minimal security issues and blazing speed and reliability. Better yet, go by a web browser for $1500 from Google! LOL.
            I'll check back in 1 years when Google has to scrap this next product failure.

            Until then, jeeze think about how dumb your comments are before spewing them out to the whole world to see your IQ.
          • ...this is the next Nexus Q

            let's be real.. it's a $1300 browser LMAO!
          • Umm

            Waterworld in an awesome movie.
          • @allusernamestaken

            To be honest I enjoyed the movie too. :D
          • as you know there is a coordinated Microsoft's anti-Google campaign

            so your paper make sense from that context. Maybe Howard you should tell us why you feel threatened by Chromebook. You know those little things, they are selling better than Surface!
          • Yeah, right.....

            To agree with Howard, just because some "genius" in Google dreamed up this Pixel product, doesn't mean it's going to be a success.
          • Don't Agree

            @Uralbas - I don't think you know anything about Google. I've been to their campus a couple times and it's like a college dorm. They got scooters, lava lamps and toys everywhere. It's very open place where experimentation was actually endorsed with Google giving the employees X number of hours to work on projects outside of work while at work.

            This philosophy does not jibe with your assertion that every product Google makes has a business objective. Pixel seems to me very much an experiment, not too unlike what Android was when it first got started. If you own an Android smart phone and open up Google Maps you'll see a section for "Google Labs". These are features Google has deliberate chosen not to enable as default because these are considered "experimental" and hence buried deep inside the menu.
          • so what

            so because their campus is like a college dorm, has scooters and lava lamps, that's supposed to guarantee product success? What are you smoking to think Google doesn't have a business objective when releasing a product? Do you know they are a public company (GOOG, look it up!). If they are NOT doing everything to increase the bottom line, Wallstreet, shareholders, and alike will fire the offices of the company. Period. Don't be so naive to think they are doing anything for the good of the public, that is amateurish. If they were still private that would be one thing, they are public and shareholders demand adding value!
          • you dont get it

            this is a chest game, the battlefield is mobile market. And right now, Google is winning over MS. With the launch of CB Pixel, they are courting the same clientele that would be looking the Surface Pro. So, they are telling OEM's, there is room to grow, in the $300/1200 range. And placing a product at the top, just after the Surface Pro fiasco.

            You, and many people can keep portraying the Pixel as an inside venture, between KrazyNerd and Silent Joe, and a few other buddies. If that makes you feel good, fine. The fact is that CB Pixel is one of the missing pieces in Google strategy.

            We must remember, every Chromebook sold is 1 person that abandon MS ecosystem. You can call them fools or other names (Adornoe), many people ventilate frustration that way, is OK. But, CB are selling like hotcakes. That makes a lot of people abandoning Microsoft ecosystem. Isn't scary?
          • I know who you mean

            toddybottom7, troll hunter, Over and Out.

            Once again, your tell is showing. ;)
            William Farrel
        • Same here, PC987

          I'll jump in and out here when I'm bored, or when the systems are running updates or something, but Facebook, Twitter, Amazon? Yeah, right. Other days, never get a moment.

          I'd love to have that job, too, but I think he's talking about trolls like toddbottom7, troll hunter, j, ect.

          Funny thing is, they likely don't have jobs, so even if they could sit here all day trolling, they could never afford this Chromebook at $1,500
          William Farrel
          • And How About You!

            Can you afford one? Have you used one? What hardware do you use and who paid for it? Which apps do you use? Are you ever capable of staying on topic or providing any content of any value?