The Chromebook Pixel was leaked earlier this month as the Chromebook that might just be too good to be true. Today Google both confirmed the existence of the Chromebook Pixel and made it available within the same day.
Chromebooks are small laptops that ship with Google’s Chrome OS, which is not that different from the Google Chrome browser itself. The only software that runs on Chrome OS natively is a very basic file manager and photo viewer, limiting who the device is intended for. Initial Chromebooks were priced around $500 and saw limited success. This past fall, Samsung released a Chromebook for $249. At this price point, the Chromebook sold out quickly and has been a bestseller on Amazon since its release.
Unlike past Chromebooks, the Pixel is a decidedly high-end device. The WiFi-only model of the notebook, the version available today, is priced at $1,299. It remains to be seen whether consumers are ready to pay for a premium Chromebook that really is, suffice to say, just a browser.
“With the Pixel, we set out to rethink all elements of a computer in order to design the best laptop possible, especially for power users who have fully embraced the cloud,” Google’s Vice President of Engineering Linus Upson said in a Google Chrome Blog post. “The philosophy of Chrome has always been to minimize the “chrome” of the browser. In much the same way, the goal of the Pixel is to make the pixels disappear, giving people the best web experience.”
Google has managed to cram a massive 2560 x 1700 resolution into a 12.85 inch 239 ppi display. The screen is shielded by Gorilla Glass, so even though fingerprints may smudge up the high resolution screen, they will not damage it. A piano hinge holds the device together, making it possible to open and close the device with a single finger. In addition, Google advertises that the hinge has been engineered to augment the range of the Wi-Fi antennas.
While the screen may be the device’s main attraction, tucked below is a fully backlit keyboard and a clickable, etched-glass trackpad. Above the screen is an HD webcam capable of recording at 720p. The device is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, the kind that generally appears in today’s ultrabooks as well as the MacBook Air. The visuals are powered by the Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated chipset.
Just like the popular $249 Samsung Chromebook before it, the Pixel comes in two models. The WiFi-only model is available now for $1,299, and it comes with a 32 gb solid state drive. An LTE model is scheduled to release in April for $1,449 and will come with a 64 GB solid state drive. Both models come with 1 TB of Google Drive storage for three years and 12 free sessions of GoGo Inflight Internet.
— Google Chrome (@googlechrome) February 21, 2013
The Chromebook Pixel is a high-end device made with premium parts. With such a high-density screen and stylish build quality, the device is priced competitively. This is an ultrabook with a touchscreen and a dizzying array of pixels, and that is not cheap regardless of what operating system powers it.