Google follows Microsoft's playbook with touch-friendly Chromebook Pixel

On paper, Google's Pixel trumps rival Chromebooks from hardware partners in most areas -- except price

Poor HP. A mere two weeks after the company rolled out its much-hyped Chromebook, Google has gone and unveiled the Chromebook Pixel, a touch-friendly Chrome OS-based laptop that (at least on paper) puts the Pavilion 14 Chromebook to shame. The same can be said of other popular Chromebooks out there, too, including the Samsung Chromebook, which has sat pretty atop Amazon's top-selling laptop list for three months now.

The one prominent disadvantage the Google Pixel may have against other Chromebooks is the price tag: It starts at $1,299, compared to rivals that range from $200 to $330. But then, the Chromebook isn't aimed at people considering a second device to complement their existing PC. This one is "especially for power users who have fully embraced the cloud," according to Google vice president of engineering Linus Upson.

Google follows Microsoft's playbook with touch-friendly Chromebook Pixel

Google appears to have swiped a page from Microsoft's playbook here: The Redmond giant raised eyebrows and ruffled feathers when it opted to effectively take on its hardware partners by building its own tablets, the Surface and the Surface Pro. Still, Upson has assured Google's hardware partners Samsung, Acer, Lenovo, and HP that his company is "tremendously grateful ... for their commitment."

Google has clearly groomed the Pixel to be a true rival to laptops and tablets, not a PC companion. For starters, the touch support is a significant boon, providing the sort of functionality that mobile users are coming to expect of their devices.

The Pixel also boasts a resolution of 2,560 x 1,700 (239 ppi), which the company says is the highest pixel density of any laptop screen out there. (The HP Chromebook does have a larger screen, at 14 inches compared to the Pixel's 12.9 inches.)

Other features include a 1.8GHz Intel Corei5 Processor (faster than that of its Chromebook rivals), as well solid-state flash memory (32GB or 64GB, along with 4GB of RAM).

Google expects users to save much of their data in the cloud, so the Pixel comes with 1TB of free Google Drive cloud storage for three years. Connecitivty-wise, the Pixel supports 802.11n WiFi, plus optional Verizon LTE. It also supports Bluetooth 3.0.

Additionally, it has a 59WHr battery that lasts 5 hours. In terms of expandability, it has two USB 2.0 ports, a Mini DisplayPort, and an SD card reader.

As with previous Chromebook, the Pixel comes integrated with Google apps and services, including Search, Gmail, YouTube, Maps, and Google+ Hangouts.

The Chromebook is available today through Google Play, starting at $1,299 for the Wi-Fi version and $1,449 for the LTE version. It will be available at Best Buy in the near future.

This story, "Google follows Microsoft's playbook with touch-friendly Chromebook Pixel," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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