Google Unveils Stupid, Expensive (But Beautiful) “Premium” Chromebook To Compete With Retina MBP

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Google has just unveiled an absolutely mystifying new product apparently created by insane millionaires, for even crazier millionaires: the Pixel, a $1,300 Chromebook with a Retina-like display. Although it’s attractive and well specced, it might be the most inexplicable product announced this year.

For a Chromebook, the Pixel has some impressive specs: it boasts a 2,560 x 1700, 12.85-inch display with a 239ppi pixel resolution. Inside, is a dual-core Intel Core i5 chipset clocked at 1.8GHz with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and 32GB of SSD storage. And it’s attractively designed.

Here’s a video of it in action:

Google Unveils Stupid, Expensive (But Beautiful) “Premium” Chromebook To Compete With Retina MBP

It’s a well-made video, evocative of Apple’s recent styles. And the Pixel itself does look beautifully designed and minimalistic.

But as the whole frickin’ world is basically screaming on Twitter, who the hell is this for? It only runs ChromeOS, which basically means this computer can run web apps and only web apps. You can’t install or even store locally anything on it.

There’s a lot to scratch you head over about the announcement, but here’s the biggest one: for $499 plus the price of a keyboard, you can buy yourself a 32GB iPad with a Retina Display and LTE support. Or for $1500, you can buy yourself a MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

Who exactly does Google think is going to buy the Pixel at $1,299? It’s not just a stripped down Retina MBP clone that you can’t install anything on; it’s inferior to an iPad that sells for $700 less.

Has Google gone nuts? Unless you absolutely lose your mind any time you see a thin strip of rainbow LEDs light up, there’s just no reason to buy this.

  • NoahK17

    Pre-ordered!

  • Whodakat

    If you haven’t watched that video Google did, you should watch it. Remind you of anything? LOL That is so much like an Apple video I was waiting for Mr Ive to come out! Can you sue over promo videos? lol

  • Whodakat

    Sorry, but that thing is ugly too. Ugly like the Surface tablet! They could be brothers.

  • shawngrant82

    So they could have something to sell in their new stores.

  • dieselmaniac

    I don’t think it’s stupid. Expensive yes, but not stupid. We all know everything is headed towards the cloud. Mac, Google, and Microsoft are heading in that direction. I’m looking at it as a precursor of things to come. I see all apps being run in the cloud eventually, and I bet you $20 that we’ll be paying a monthly subscription to use it.

  • Bob Smogango

    I don’t think it’s stupid. Expensive yes, but not stupid. We all know everything is headed towards the cloud. Mac, Google, and Microsoft are heading in that direction. I’m looking at it as a precursor of things to come. I see all apps being run in the cloud eventually, and I bet you $20 that we’ll be paying a monthly subscription to use it.

    I think average apps might be like word processing, spreadsheets, but high end graphics, audio/video production? NOPE. I don’t see that at all. I see just low end mundane apps might be.

  • Bob Smogango

    I don’t think it’s stupid. Expensive yes, but not stupid. We all know everything is headed towards the cloud. Mac, Google, and Microsoft are heading in that direction. I’m looking at it as a precursor of things to come. I see all apps being run in the cloud eventually, and I bet you $20 that we’ll be paying a monthly subscription to use it.

    I think there are a lot of things that are attractive from a design standpoint, but since there is pretty much no REAL software available on the Chrome platform other than Google’s crapps, then it’s pretty useless. Too bad, it does have that “cool” factor from a hardware design standpoint, but what kinds of ports does it have? USB only? It’s still a rather low end i5, with not much storage.

  • jackfrost91402

    Lets see here..u buy the same ipad with incremental updates and pay top dollar for it, u do the same for the iphone..hmm! Yes u guys are very smart. Second point apple charges about $100 per 50 gigs of cloud..if u do the math and if its even available. .that’s $2000 per year for 1 terabyte..$6k for 3 years WOW u must love apple. So google is giving u 1tb for 3 years of cloud..a freaking nice laptop and some free software. ..hmm I guess ill reserve my copy. However u guys should keep giving your money away to apple since its making a hole in your pockets.

  • ac1dra1n

    Apple, you now what to do. Lawsuit in 3…2…1… I really do not see the point in this. This might make sense in a few years, but now? It is irrelevant. The part that really gets me is the 32GB of storage.

  • Eitot

    Second point apple charges about $100 per 50 gigs of cloud..if u do the math and if its even available. .that’s $2000 per year for 1 terabyte..$6k for 3 years WOW u must love apple. So google is giving u 1tb for 3 years of cloud..a freaking nice laptop and some free software. ..hmm I guess ill reserve my copy.

    Your comparison is flawed, however. For a start, Google’s Cloud is not similar to Apple’s iCloud. While Google Cloud puts basically everything into the cloud, iCloud does not do that. The latter is aimed at syncing your data between devices and storing only certain data as part of supported app frameworks, e.g. Pages, Keynote and third-party apps. There is no option to store your own media in the cloud if not supported under the iCloud scheme as there is no ‘hard drive in the sky’ with iCloud, hence the modest limit of 50 GB. You cannot compare pricing at this point if you are comparing different products. Moreover, the Chromebook comes only with a meagre 32 GB of storage and thus relies quite heavily on the cloud for almost everything. Supposing you don’t use portable hard drives, you will have to store most of your data online, therefore relying on a stable and quick Internet connection, with significantly slower access rates and performance of your data, and the flaws cloud computing generally has (loss of data, uncertain legal obligations under Google’s terms, etc.), while regular laptops have plenty of hard-drive storage with the option to rely on cloud computing services when needed, like Dropbox or even Google Drive itself.

    I think Google has an interesting vision with respect to the importance of the cloud, but society is simply not yet ready. There are too many uncertainties, performance issues, and lack of desktop-class applications to warrant a complete move to the cloud. Which is why no serious computer user would consider buying a Chromebook, unless used as a secondary medium next to a regular laptop or tablet. At this stage it is aimed at people who can do all of their stuff online, which essentially excludes most users anyway. For a reasonably low price the Chromebook makes a lot of sense, but with this price I wonder who is going to bite, since it even surpasses a comparatively expensive MacBook Air/Pro at this point.

  • tool022611

    That is 100% an apple add, I also think apple has it right that touch screen doesn’t belong on a laptop/desktop. The specs are ridiculous, why would you spend that much for 32/64 gigs. How much is left after standard configuration? Maybe it is expensive for apple cloud storage buy you don’t need 1tb of cloud when you have a 500+ gig hdd/SSD. Ill stick with my Mac Pro retina display.

  • Bob Smogango
    Second point apple charges about $100 per 50 gigs of cloud..if u do the math and if its even available. .that’s $2000 per year for 1 terabyte..$6k for 3 years WOW u must love apple. So google is giving u 1tb for 3 years of cloud..a freaking nice laptop and some free software. ..hmm I guess ill reserve my copy.

    Your comparison is flawed, however. For a start, Google’s Cloud is not similar to Apple’s iCloud. While Google Cloud puts basically everything into the cloud, iCloud does not do that. The latter is aimed at syncing your data between devices and storing only certain data as part of supported app frameworks, e.g. Pages, Keynote and third-party apps. There is no option to store your own media in the cloud if not supported under the iCloud scheme as there is no ‘hard drive in the sky’ with iCloud, hence the modest limit of 50 GB. You cannot compare pricing at this point if you are comparing different products. Moreover, the Chromebook comes only with a meagre 32 GB of storage and thus relies quite heavily on the cloud for almost everything. Supposing you don’t use portable hard drives, you will have to store most of your data online, therefore relying on a stable and quick Internet connection, with significantly slower access rates and performance of your data, and the flaws cloud computing generally has (loss of data, uncertain legal obligations under Google’s terms, etc.), while regular laptops have plenty of hard-drive storage with the option to rely on cloud computing services when needed, like Dropbox or even Google Drive itself.

    I think Google has an interesting vision with respect to the importance of the cloud, but society is simply not yet ready. There are too many uncertainties, performance issues, and lack of desktop-class applications to warrant a complete move to the cloud. Which is why no serious computer user would consider buying a Chromebook, unless used as a secondary medium next to a regular laptop or tablet. At this stage it is aimed at people who can do all of their stuff online, which essentially excludes most users anyway. And at this price, I wonder who is going to bite.

    Who is going to bite? The same users that want the Google Glass, the same people that buy Google Nexus 4 phones, the same people that buy Nexus 7 tablets and the same people that buy Nexus 10 tablets. The Google fan base that get suckered into Google branded products. You know, kids or people with a limited budget that want to act superior to Apple users.

  • lowtolerance

    Lets see here..u buy the same ipad with incremental updates and pay top dollar for it, u do the same for the iphone..hmm! Yes u guys are very smart. Second point apple charges about $100 per 50 gigs of cloud..if u do the math and if its even available. .that’s $2000 per year for 1 terabyte..$6k for 3 years WOW u must love apple. So google is giving u 1tb for 3 years of cloud..a freaking nice laptop and some free software. ..hmm I guess ill reserve my copy. However u guys should keep giving your money away to apple since its making a hole in your pockets.

    I’d rather have 256GB of local storage than 1TB of cloud storage and a ridiculously small 32GB SSD drive.

  • lowtolerance

    The sad thing is, a lot of people will probably by it so they can prove they aren’t a fanboy.

    Irony.

  • joshvazquez

    ChromeBook Pixel Shame, Weird how similar these two spots are!! http://youtu.be/NISG_fKEXYs

  • SuperJunior

    Wow! This is the professional and mature way of reviewing products — by labeling them “stupid”…

  • djcolley

    Another worthless Apple what a be company with another worthless product.

  • war_by_proxy

    I think there’s a distinct possibility Google isn’t trying to sell many of these as much as it is trying to get media coverage and raise interest in ChromeOS products.

  • Gregory Wright

    Google can’t possibly think this device will be a hit does it.

  • JWinIV

    Google is making an early bid for “Worst Tech of 2013″.

  • iMonkey

    I can’t wait for the boys to rip this apart on the Cultcast

    What a ridiculous product. This will of course go the same way as the Nexus Q.

  • markrlangston

    There’s nothing wrong with the product but rather its predecessors. You can’t go from $250 devices to $1,300 and expect to be taken seriously. If Chrome OS felt like a premium operating system that just happened to be stuffed into subpar hardware then maybe more people would have more respect for this system but it’s nothing more than a web browser.

    If surfing the web, which still displays low-res images, in a hi-res mode is important, and you want a touch screen, you’d be better served with a 4th-gen iPad and a Zagg keyboard case for about half the price of the Pixel.

  • tnyLe

    Total Retardation. What a stupid product. I’ll admit though, this is one of the few devices that would actually be better if it ran Windows.

    BTW Google, if you’re going to clone Apple and then pretend to be more innovative, you might as well clone the white backdrop that Apple uses as well.

    Morons. How pathetic, then even clone the camera angles..

    Jeez, Apple’s making so much money (aka. a successful company) these greedy loser wanna be companies are cloning everything about Apple.

  • ATG4

    I must admit to being stumped by Google’s strategy here. I think the Chromebook concept has value, especially for certain types of computer users. I just don’t see the purpose of a premium-priced version. Google still has work to do convincing people to accept the whole Chrome OS concept.

    Promoting the line of reasonably-priced Chromebooks is the smarter play. A device that’s easy to use, easy to manage and boots up fast can be very appealing. There are even solutions for accessing Windows applications. For example, Ericom AccessNow is an HTML5 RDP client that enables Chromebook users to connect to Terminal Server or VDI virtual desktops, and run Windows applications or desktops in a browser tab. So AccessNow can help make Chromebooks more viable for business use, even if it’s just the case of enabling employees to access work applications from home.

    Click here for a live interactive demo:
    http://www.ericom.com/AccessNowDemo

    Please note that I work for Ericom

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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