Google Unveils High-End Chromebook Pixel, But Will Anyone Buy It?

Google today underlined just how serious it is about competing in the PC market, unveiling its sleek-looking new touchscreen laptop based on the Chrome operating system, in what looks to be a direct bid to take on Apple’s Macs with its premium-priced, cloud based machine.

The high-end Chromebook, known as the Chromebook Pixel, went on sale this Thursday tagged at a cool $1,299 for the Wi-Fi-only version, and $1,449 for a machine featuring built-in LTE technology that allows users to connect on the go. Google designed and built the machine independently of major manufacturers, relying on the help of a Taiwan-based hardware partner.

Chromebooks are light, web-based machines that run on Google’s own operating system the Chrome OS. Virtually everything about the machine is web-based, with almost all the computing being done using Google’s online services like Gmail, Google Docs and Google Music. For those who want to learn more about Chromebooks, HackAngle editor Kyt Dotson has been carrying out an in-depth review of the Chromebook this week in a series of articles that demonstrate the full capabilities of Google’s OS. Click here to read parts one, two and three.

Google said that the new machine will come with 1TB of cloud-based storage (note that Chromebooks do not come with hard drives).

The biggest difference between Google’s latest Chromebook and previous models is that this is the first device to feature a touchscreen – but the new feature comes at an enormous cost, especially when one considers that earlier models start at just $199. On the plus side though, the Chromebook Pixel does pack some decent hardware, powered by an Intel Core i5 Processor and built with solid-state flash memory architecture, making this one of the zippiest Chromebooks ever built.

However, there are sure to be questions about just who in their right mind would want to buy this machine. For sure Chromebooks have their fans, but with the inability to run programs like Photoshop and Office, and the lack of any Skype client, many would argue that the Pixel isn’t even a real computer – yet at $1,299 the machine costs $100 more than a 13” MacBook Air, and only $200 less than a full-size MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

Those who are feeling flush and want to be a part of the next chapter in Google’s Chromebook journey can get their hands on the Wi-Fi-only version of the machine today by visiting the Google Play store in the US and UK. Google said that the Wi-Fi version will start shipping from next week, while those who pre-order an LTE version will have to wait until April before they get their hands on their newest, seriously expensive ‘toy’.

About Mike Wheatley

Mike loves to talk about Big Data, the Internet of Things, Hacktivists and hacking, but he also hates Google and can never resist having a quick dig at them should the opportunity arise :) Got a REAL news story or tip? Email Mike@SiliconANGLE.com.