The Chromebook Pixel, available for order on the Google Play store and shipping in April, features a 12.85-inch touch-sensitive Gorilla Glass screen. The resolution is 4.3 million pixels, which works out to 239 pixels per inch. (The average Windows laptop has about half that; technically, it also beats the Macbook Retina.)
The Pixel will come in two versions, both boasting an Intel Core i5 processor. The basic model is Wi-Fi only; a more expensive model has the ability to connect to Verizon's superfast LTE network. Google claims a battery life of five hours on the device, which has QuickOffice built into the browser and an SD card slot for automatic photo uploads to Google+. Those features can also be used offline (uploads queued for later, of course).
The price, however, is relatively steep: $1,299 for the Wi-Fi only version, $1,449 for the LTE model.
Google was careful to emphasize that the Pixel isn't for everyone. "This is for power users who live in the cloud," Senior Vice President of Chrome Sundar Pichai repeatedly told a select group of journalists at a low-key launch event in San Francisco.
Having a touchscreen doesn't mean that Google plans to integrate its mobile OS, Android, into the device. But Pichai hoped web developers would start making their interfaces touch-sensitive — so that content on the device would be indistinguishable from Android.
"Touch is here to stay, and I'm pretty sure every laptop will have touch in the future," Pichai said. "Using a laptop with touch seems strange at first, but your day-to-day browser experience starts changing. In our tests, users started replacing the touchpad pretty quickly."
The aluminum-coated Pixel was designed and built by Google, with help from other unnamed PC manufacturers. Plenty of thought appears to have gone into the design: For example, there's an extra laser microphone under the keyboard, complementing the two mics next to the camera, allowing the software to cancel out any noise you might make while typing on a video conference.
"Our goal was to have the hardware disappear," Pichai added.
Did Google achieve its goal? We've got our hands on a Pixel Chromebook and will post a hands on soon. In the meantime, let us know in the comments — would you consider a Chromebook Pixel?
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