Google has unveiled a new netbook with a touchscreen, Intel Core i5 1.8 gzh processor, exceptionally high pixel density, and many other high end features — and it all retails for a cool $1,300, more than a Macbook Air.
The web giant is hoping to compete with Apple for a cut of the high-end ultralight notebook sector, and wants to provide a technologically advanced showcase for its nascent Chrome OS operating system.
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Google says that the Pixel, the first laptop that the company has made itself, specializes in running Google web products, starts up in seconds and regularly updates itself, and will retail with a terabyte of Google Drive storage included. A 4G version will come out in the US in April.
"This is about power users. Some of them buy Mac, some buy Windows 8. We wanted to make sure Chrome OS is in that segment," said Chrome chief Sundar Pichai to the Guardian.
"This is the future - high resolution and touchscreen, and we're behind in the laptop world," added Pichai, who noted that "We want to push the ecosystem and web development forward, so this can be thought of as a reference device, in the same way as the Nexus, that will inspire a whole new generation of devices."
At Forbes, Jean-Baptiste Su wrote that comparing "the Chromebook Pixel laptop with a 13″ MacBook Air is just insane, if not plain stupid and misleading," calling it a "a thin client capable of running Web applications through the Chrome web browser."
Gizmag's direct comparison of the Macbook Air and the Chromebook Pixel was similarly critical, noting that the Pixel shipped with only 33 to 64 GB of hard drive storage, and that both the Chrome OS and its accompanying apps looks "rudimentary next to Windows and Mac OS X."
Below is Google's promotional video for the Pixel, which claims in part that the developers hoped to "make the hardware disappear."