Google has announced its first premium Chrome OS laptop, the Chromebook Pixel, which will begin shipping next week for $1,299. It marks a stark departure from the Chromebook line, which typically features inexpensive devices.
The key feature of the Chromebook Pixel is the 12.85-inch, 239 pixel-per-inch touchscreen, which Google claims is the highest resolution display to ever ship on a laptop. The screen has a 3:2 aspect ratio to better fit web content as it is taller than most notebook displays, which means less scrolling for users.
The Chromebook Pixel is the first Chromebook completely designed by Google and is in some ways similar to the Apple MacBook Air. Both laptops have invisible speakers that shoot sound through the LED-backlit keyboard, and the 3.35-pound Chromebook Pixel is just slightly thicker than the MacBook Air at 11.7 x 8.8 x .6 inches.
Google’s premium laptop has rounded edges, an etched-glass touchpad and a smooth hinge that allows users to lift the lid without lifting the machine up off its resting surface. It runs an on Intel Core i5 processor and has 4GB DDR3 RAM, which is on par with many mid-range Windows Ultrabooks. Of course, the Chromebook runs the Chrome OS, which is a lightweight operating system that does not run traditional apps, but rather operates through web apps like Google Docs. As such, Chromebooks require an internet connection for the full experience.
To that end Google claims it is working on web apps built around touch, including a photo sharing service, and a new version of Quickoffice, which it acquired last year.
Google will also offer 1TB of free Google Drive space for three years, and after three years, the storage remains free, but users will have to pay full price for any addition Google Drive storage.
When Google entered the notebook business with the first installment of the Chromebook, it aimed to deliver cheap and simple laptops for users that mainly wanted to browse the web and check email. The Chromebook Pixel claims to remain simple, but it’s certainly not cheap.
There are two versions of the premium laptop available; one with Wi-Fi and 32 GB of storage and the other with Verizon LTE and 64 GB of storage. The Wi-Fi version is priced at $1,299 USD while the LTE version comes in at $1,449 USD at the time of this writing. The Wi-Fi Chromebook is now available to order from Google and will be made available tomorrow from BestBuy.com.