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The Pixel: Google's newest (and most expensive) Chromebook yet

Google's new Chromebook, the Pixel, has left critics with much to be desired. So, is Google's latest attempt to break into the laptop industry worth it?

By Aimee Ortiz / February 22, 2013

A man uses the touchscreen of the Google Chromebook Pixel laptop computer at an announcement in San Francisco, Calif.

Jeff Chiu/AP

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Google launched its latest Chromebook, the Pixel, yesterday at a press event in San Francisco, Calif. The Pixel comes armed with a glass screen, high-resolution screen, and a $1,000+ price.

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This is Google’s latest attempt to make Chrome OS takeoff. The Pixel brings Chromebooks up a level with new hardware and takes aim “power users," says senior vice president for Chrome Sundar Pichai.  

“Touch is here to stay and is the future,” says Mr. Pichai, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. “We wanted to design something which was very high end and premium for power users -- people who are very, very demanding of their laptops.”

The Pixel has an Intel Core i5 processor and limited internal storage. The idea behind Chromebooks is that consumers will use Google's online products and live entirely in a cloud-based system. Essentially, Chromebooks come with a Web browser and that’s about it. Instead of Microsoft Office or Outlook, Chromebook users will use Google Docs and Gmail.

The high price of the Pixel is also due to specs outside of the processor. The Pixel has 4.3 millions pixels – more than double the pixels on a 1080p HD TV. According to Time, Pichai says that this will cause consumers to “never, ever see another pixel.”  The 12.85-inch screen has an aspect ratio of 3:2 (rather tall for a laptop) and it’s made of glass. Oh, did we mention it’s a touchscreen?

For all those who fear that they will never be able to open a Word document again, Google plans to provide a new version of Quickoffice. Google bought Quickoffice last year as a way to ensure Google files are compatible with everyone’s beloved Microsoft Office.

Topped off with an aluminum casing, three microphones, hidden screws and vents, the Pixel doesn’t seem all that bad. Oh, and Google is giving each Pixel user 1TB of space free of charge for the first three years.

Nonetheless, many critics have come out in full force against the Pixel. Zdnet’s Howard Lo congratulates Google on “out-Appling Apple ... long famous for charging a premium for a product with less features.” If you, dear reader, are interested in a personalize preview of the Pixel, Mr. Lo suggests that you take a normal laptop, open Chrome, and restrict access to everything else on the computer. (Lo is clearly not a fan.)

Gizmodo’s Sam Biddle quickly published a piece titled, “Every Reason Not to Buy the Google Chromebook Pixel.” The Pixel is too expensive, he says off the bat. And the list continues.

And Forbes contributor Daniel Nye Griffiths is quick to point out that because the Pixel is aimed at developers, there’s just no point in buying one.  

Beginning today, the Wi-Fi-only model will be available for purchase at BestBuy.com and on Google. It costs $1,300. An LTE version will be available by April for $1,450.

 For more tech news, follow Aimee on Twitter@aimee_ortiz 

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