Google launches its Retina Chromebook, the Pixel

By , Feb 21, 2013

Following a credible leak recently – and just hours after The Wall Street Journal reported that “Google is developing touchscreen devices using Chrome Operating System” - the Internet giant on Wednesday introduced its premium Chromebook with a Retina-class display. Tentatively named Chromebook Pixel, it features a 12.85-inch 2,560-by-1,700 screen that Google proclaims “the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today.”

By comparison, the 13-inch MacBook Pro has a 2560-by-1600 220 pixels per inch screen and the 15-incher has an even crisper 2880-by-1800 display at 220 pixels per inch. The Pixel’s 400 nit display also has a 178-degree viewing angle and is driven by the same crappy Intel HD Graphics 4000 platform as the MacBook Air. Other specs of the 3.35lbs computer include a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip with 4G of RAM, mini DisplayPort, two USB ports, a 2-in-1 card reader and 32 gigabytes of built-in flash storage.

But unlike Apple’s notebooks, Google’s responds to touch, potentially opening door to the Gorilla arm syndrome which, according to Apple, rules out multitouch on notebook screens…

The Pixel’s battery is rated at up to five hours of run time. Judging by the press shot below, the Pixel looks like an older and boxier version of the MacBook Pro.

According to Google, the Pixel’s chassis is made from an anodized aluminum alloy that features hidden vents, invisible screws and the stereo speakers “seamlessly tucked away beneath the backlit keyboard.”

Like the Air, the Pixel’s touchpad is made from etched glass that Google says has been “analyzed and honed using a laser microscope to ensure precise navigation.”

Chromebook Pixel (piano hinge)
A piano hinge augments the range of the built-in Wi-Fi antennas while doubling as a heatsink to help keep the machine cool.

A 0.55mm layer of touch-enabled Gorilla Glass is fused directly to the screen and Google says its touch enhanced Chrome OS can be used to organize windows, swipe through apps, edit photos, tap on targets and pinch to zoom.

Like previous Chromebooks, the Pixel runs Google’s Chrome OS, which is designed to power HTML5 web apps and games that Google carries in the Chrome Web Store. There’s also a built-in 720p web cam and three noise-canceling microphones, useful for Hangouts on Google+.

Sounds interesting, though I’m wondering whether people will still dig Google’s implementation of multitouch over prolonged usage. It all depends on how Google optimized the Chrome OS itself for multitouch.

Judging by the small buttons in the toolbar, this needs some more work. Apple on its part clearly is not fond of vertical touch surfaces on notebooks and instead has chosen to implement multitouch throughout OS X via touchpad gestures.

Here’s Steve Jobs pooh-poohing notebooks with touchscreens.

Google’s VP of Engineering Linus Upson rather proudly proclaimed in an announcement blog post that now is “one of the most exciting times in the history of personal computing, thanks to a rapid pace of change, innovation and consumer adoption of devices.”

In my view, Microsoft should be way more concerned about Google’s foray into desktop computing than Apple because Windows 8 is supposed to power a wide range of touch-enabled desktop and notebook form factors. And, the Pixel is a direct threat to the Surface Pro, which wants to be a notebook disguised as a tablet.

Chromebook Pixel (two up, open lid, black)

A lot of people seem to be disappointed with Windows 8, however, and Google clearly figured it should take advantage of an opportunity that has presented itself. The search giant is now in an interesting position where it has two Linux-based operating systems, Android for smartphones and tablets and Chrome OS for computers.

Google previously said it’s OK with that, but it’s unclear whether or not these two pieces of software merge into a single OS down the road. Be that as it may, with the Pixel Google has gained more credibility in the notebook space. Those rumored Google Stores are starting to make a lot of sense now, do they?

Unfortunately, the problem with Chromebooks persists – these machines are dependent on the Internet connection. That said, paying $,1299 for a notebook than only runs Chrome and none of the desktop applications available on Windows and the Mac may not be a good investment. Long term, Apple should clearly pay notice as I’m sure Cook & Co. already have done so already.

 

Other perks include twelve free GoGo Inflight Internet passes and one terabyte of free Google Drive cloud storage for three years, otherwise a $1,800 value. I’m guessing people living in the cloud will welcome free storage as soon as they fill up a rather paltry 32GB of built-in storage with rich media and documents.

Cnet spent some hands-on time with the computer, here’s their video.

And here’s The Verge’s review.

The Chromebook starts at $1,299 for the Wi-Fi-only variant and $1,449 for a model with LTE modems built-in. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these prices don’t compare favorably to Apple’s MacBook Air, which starts at just $999 for the 11-inch 64GB version or $1,099 for the 13-inch version with 128 gigabytes of flash storage.

Heck, you could throw in an additional $200 and get a Retina MacBook Pro instead (now you know why Apple earlier this month slashed notebook prices by up to $300).

Chromebook Pixel (touchscreen, Google Maps)
Google Maps on the Pixel’s multitouch display should be fun.

Google said the Chromebook Pixel will start shipping next week and is now accepting pre-orders via its Play store in the United States and United Kigdom (and soon through BestBuy’s online store).

What do you think of the Pixel?

Would you rather buy a Retina notebook from Google or Apple?

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  • Lordthree

    $1,300 web browser = DOA

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      More like a web browser and a local spy agent.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.tilden.9 Jamie Tilden

      Don’t be a hypocrite. It’s the same thing for a MacBook Pro.

      • Lordthree

        On what planet is it the same? It only runs a browser and has no storage. Did you READ the article?

      • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.tilden.9 Jamie Tilden

        Haha alright my apologies

      • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

        but a mac boot pro is not a PC

      • Damani Brown

        o_O is all you get.

  • CollegiateLad

    “Now I understand why Apple earlier this month slashed notebook prices by up to $300. Obviously the company knew Google was about to enter its Retina turf with a notebook of its own.”

    Lol. The price drops are due to slow sales. Trust me, if they were flying off the shelves, Apple would have been more than happy to keep them at those overly high prices.

  • Damani Brown

    $1k for a laptop that basically can only browse the web. Not bright at all. Pretty retarded. If I wanted a 1k laptop why not buy a Macbook pro? It can run all apps while Chromebook cant. Obviously the Macbook would be the better choice here. I don’t know what Google was thinking.

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Lol, fail! I buy a computer for a lot more than just HD web browsing.

    • CollegiateLad

      Maybe it will soon run Android apps…

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Still way overpriced for a Android Laptop. Does a fraction of the stuff a $300 Windows Laptop does. I’m pretty sure a retina display doesn’t cost a grand to build.

      • CollegiateLad

        I agree…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380073379 Quang Truong

        then why dont you just buy an Android tablet to run Android apps, web surfing……..???
        Android tablet can do everything this Chromebook can do
        its $1300, not $300

  • http://www.facebook.com/Johannes.Mertens Johannes Mertens

    This Ad is such a copycat of Apple’s way of marketing..

    • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.tilden.9 Jamie Tilden

      Marketing and hardware design. “We wanted as few lines as possible, as few markings as possible, as few screws as possible. So, we looked at the MacBook Pro and completely copied everything we saw from it.”

      • Tr1pTr0p

        Apple invented clean lines and simple design? Stop with the bullshit.

      • JamesR624

        Thank you. I’m starting to not like idownloadblog because the comments section here is full of more retarded blind fanboyism than even the apple subreddit. Just once, I’d like to find an apple news site that ISN’T full of stupid fanboys.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380073379 Quang Truong

        oh you just realized that iDownloadblog is Apple-fan site, huh? lol

      • Tr1pTr0p

        Take notes: It’s a fan site, not a barn or a farm.

      • Yujin

        He can’t read. He is an android fan lol

      • Damani Brown

        This was a very clean, funny, classic, comment. Thanks for the laugh! LOL

      • Kurt

        why would you flirt with her? she problaby is a typical fat korean-american girl

      • Damani Brown

        Flip are you talking about? I enjoyed her comment. If it’s even a her o_O It was very smooth and quite funny LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLL ANDROID USERS CAN’T READ OLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

      • Damani Brown

        Also if you think this is flirting “This was a very clean, funny, classic, comment. Thanks for the laugh! LOL” There’s a reason you’re single. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

      • Lordthree

        So… You’re saying this is a superior product to the MacBook Pro or Air?

      • Tr1pTr0p

        He didn’t mention the Pixel, the MacBook Pro, nor the MacBook Air. So please tell me, how in the world did you manage to reach that conclusion???

      • Lordthree

        He didn’t mention ANYTHING of substance so I tried to extrapolate some meaning from his gibberish. Fuck off

      • Tr1pTr0p

        And, as usual, your ass failed miserably.

      • Kurt

        you just fight with everyone on here don’t you? you are not longer welcome. goodbye

      • http://twitter.com/therealjdizzle Jason Masters

        That’s not a valid argument since the product isn’t in consumers hands yet is it?

      • Yujin

        Don’t come to apple sites then.

      • http://twitter.com/therealjdizzle Jason Masters

        Your actually the fool here to not comprehend that an apple fan site may just contain fanboys the real question is why are you here? And believe me I’m not trying to pick a fight I’m simply pointing out the obvious.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.tilden.9 Jamie Tilden

        “Clean lines and simple design”? No, nobody invented that and nobody has a patent on it. I’ll admit I’m an Apple fanboy, and I’ll always buy Apple over Google. But you need to admit that the design of this product is damn close to that of the MacBook Pro that it’s no coincidence. And for that matter, go to your local BestBuy and I guarantee you that you will find tons of laptops that draw clear parallels to the MacBook Pro.

      • Tr1pTr0p

        Sure, I’ll fly a few thousand miles to visit a BestBuy store. What makes this look like a MacBook Pro? The keyboard? Oops, every laptop has it? The centered trackpad? Oops, almost every laptop has it. Boxy clamshell design? Oops, every other laptop has it.
        But as soon as a laptop looks clean and the second people notice how a company actually paid attention to the design… Ah no, no, no! It’s an Apple ripoff, looks like Apple, copy, copy, copy!
        Get real for fucks sake!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380073379 Quang Truong

        all cars have 4 wheels, 4 doors (sedan), 4 windows, 1 trunk, exhaust…but do they look exactly the same??? Lamborghini, Audi, Toyota, Honda…they all make car, but their cars look the same??? Do you understand what the word “copy” means? do you know the different between copy and innovation???

      • Tr1pTr0p

        The problem is when anyone tries to think outside the box and design a great looking device, all you crybabies do is bitch how it’s a ripoff. Get some new material to bitch about, because this is getting old.

      • Kurt

        apple copied the macbook air from a sony viao from 2004. it looks nearly identical

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380073379 Quang Truong

        Probably this one is not a copy of Macbook Pro….cause this Chromebook is damm so UGLY lol
        When I was the thumbnail of the youtube video, I thought, “hmm isn’t this a 10 year-old laptop?”
        Remember the Dell, Gateway 10 yrs ago, this notebook looks as ugly as that.

      • Tr1pTr0p

        Funny how you say this looks like the MacBook Pro, and that it’s ugly. Get your shit together.

      • http://twitter.com/therealjdizzle Jason Masters

        Actually you are 100% correct nearly all the Samsung and even toshibas are as or more thin then the MacBook and are even the same chrome finish hell even cheap knockoff laptops have the same design

  • http://twitter.com/rcnino Ryan C

    Gorilla arm syndrome? That’s drinking the Apple cool-aid right there. I didn’t touch my MacBook for a week after I got my first iPad. Then I opened it up and the first thing I did was reach for the screen. I also used a Windows 8 notebook with a touchscreen and I believe it is the best way to use the new OS and the only way it’s worth it. Having a touchscreen on a notebook is not about migrating the user from the trackpad to the screen. It’s about having the option. Leave the desktop OS optimized for a mouse a keyboard and let me reach out and touch it when I feel like it.

    • Lordthree

      I really want my 55 inch plasma screen to be touch enabled. That way I could walk over to it and touch it when I feel like.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bruno.vilella Bruno Vilella

        hahaha YES! Using a mac mini, I’d love to touch my 42 inch lcd screen whenever I feel like it…
        If I needed to touch it, I’d get an iPad

    • http://twitter.com/therealjdizzle Jason Masters

      “and let me reach out and touch it when I feel like it.”

      LOL! That’s what she said!
      Sorry had to do it

  • http://twitter.com/fciftci_ Fırat Çiftçi

    “The highest resolution that have ever been put on a laptop computer.” Yeah, right. We don’t know anything about the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, Google.

  • http://twitter.com/brandonweidema Brandon

    i look at the comments and just laugh… do your own research before you start throwing around stupid comments lol.

  • Tr1pTr0p

    What I do 90% of the time when my MacBook starts up is open Chrome, and I keep most of my data on an external hard disk. I would love to have a device like this, but definitely not with this price tag.

  • Dan

    Color me unimpressed…
    Screen is very nice, but almost no storage and being dependent on the internet… no thanks.

  • Wassim Omais

    I wouldn’t by a 10000 ppi computer that can only use web apps (which aren’t even really apps, just browser extensions and websites.) I would rather by a non-retina machine that can actually run real useful programs and software other than Google Chrome and Google Chrome OS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380073379 Quang Truong

    Google: “It is the highest resolution, brightest, best screen have ever been put into a laptop computer.”
    …Apple: It’s the highest resolution display we’ve ever put into a notebook.”
    lol :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    lol i will take a mac book pro iver this every day

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1138906023 Charles Hu

    Google fans now will say pixel is everything

  • mark arellano

    Please apple is for lovers this shite is the rest of yous’

  • Yujin

    32GB? Is this 1999?

  • http://www.facebook.com/liamsagooch Liam Googolplex Merlyn

    “Gorilla arm syndrome”? Sounds like my lonely Saturday night at home.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bruno.vilella Bruno Vilella

      LOL

  • http://Michaelschnier.tumblr.com Michael Schnier

    Eh, install Ubuntu on it and you’re good to go. :P

    • http://twitter.com/therealjdizzle Jason Masters

      Ubuntu? Eh no thanks why don’t we all just use jollycloud lol?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Makavelli.1 Joseph A. Ahmad

    I could care less about if they copied the design, blah blah, whatever. BUT, the Advertisement is so copied, it’s laughable. I laughed the whole time watching it.

  • http://twitter.com/lgasparjnr laszlo gaspar

    Way to expensive for what you get. I’d much rather get a macbook air.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yuvraj.wadhwani Yuvraj Wadhwani

    i’d rather buy an iPad 4 with a keyboard dock.

  • http://twitter.com/andrewhaas andrew

    1TB of storage is $50/year, so $150 “bonus”. not bad, but where did $1800 come from?