Google Offers Its Own Touchscreen Chromebook Pixel

By Joe Rizzo February 22, 2013

Google announced the launch of its latest Chromebook design. The target group that the Chromebook Pixel laptop has in its focus is the power user who fully lives in the cloud. The Pixel does come standard with some impressive features.

The touchscreen is a 12.85 inch high density 2560x1700 screen with an aspect ratio of 3:2. That is 4.3 million pixels working to deliver to the user crisp text, vivid colors and an extra wide viewing angle. Most laptops have about 118 pixels/inch, the Pixel has 239 pixels/inch. Even the Macbook Pro with Retina display only has 220 pixels/inch. This gives Google something to boast about since it can say that it has the highest pixel density of any laptop display. The display has a 0.55 millimeter layer of touch enabled Gorilla Glass. This is fused directly to the screen and provides very smooth touch interactions. At the same time, the Gorilla Glass preserves picture clarity on the screen.

What runs the device is a 1.8 GHz, dual core Intel Core i5 processor. It has 4GB of RAM and either a 32GB or 64GB solid state drive (SSD). The price varies based on the storage capacity that you chose. Google is also offering free cloud storage of a full terabyte. The offer is active for three years. The unit weighs in at 3.35 pounds. The model that is available now is the Wi-Fi version with a 32GB SSD. The cost for this model is $1,299.

Some of the other features according to Google are that the Pixel boots up in seconds and continues to run fast. It requires almost zero setup or maintenance and comes with virus protection built-in. It has been designed to stay up to date with seamless updates every few weeks.

While the currently released model does not have it, Google will soon launch a version with a built-in LTE radio. Google is partnering up with Verizon to offer users 100 MB per month with a two year contract. They are also offering 12 free in-flight Wi-Fi sessions with GoGo which allows you to stay connected at 30,000 feet with an in-flight Internet connection. The LTE version is set to ship in the U.S. sometime in April. It will have a 64GB SSD and will cost $1,449.

At a press conference in San Francisco on February 21, 2013, Sundar Pichai, the vice president at Google said, “I think the hardware shines. There’s a set of users who are really committed to living completely in the cloud and Google wanted to build the perfect laptop for them.”

The Pixel is the first Chromebook that Google actually commissioned on its own. It did use a small but undisclosed ODM partner to manufacture it. Pichai said “We want to give the customers the best possible Chromebook experience and it shows.”

Previous versions of the Chromebook have a more plastic, possibly flimsy feel to them. Of course, when you look at the $299 price tag, you are willing to make allowances. The Pixel has a solid aluminum body that should feel a lot sturdier. The screen is held to the body by a piano hinge. For those of you who do not know what that is, it is a hinge that runs the entire length of the screen. This makes for a very solid connection between the two sections. From what I was able to find out, the piano hinge seems to boost the Wi-Fi performance. Two microphones are built into the lid, along with a 720p Webcam.

Google made it a point of interest that the Pixel is a very premium device. Pichai, noted that the piano hinge has the feel of a “very premium car door” and the aluminum body has rounded corners to make it feel better when you hold it. Google said that it redesigned numerous components and often had to resort to designing its own parts to meet its specs. An example is that a third microphone was added to the device so it not only cancels out background noise, but also the noise you make yourself when you type on the keyboard.

Pichai said that the keyboard has been improved over earlier models, with upgrades made to the mechanical "dome" underneath each key. He also mentioned that Google has "touch enabled" the Chrome OS and the Chrome browser. What that means is that you will be able to shift tabs around with a finger, and swipe away the shortcut bar at the bottom of the screen.

The battery is supposed to last about eight hours, but a more reasonable estimation is that it will last between five and six hours of continuous use.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Contributing Writer

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