Google has confirmed that its premium notebook will officially go on sale in the US next month and that owners will be tied to Verizon's network.
The notebook, which runs Google's own Chrome OS and, instead of installed applications, offers access to software via its internet browser, caused quite a stir when it was first unveiled in February. Boasting the highest resolution screen of any 12-inch portable computer currently available, the Chromebook Pixel is Google's attempt to show that it can do premium, desirable products just as well as Apple.
However, at $1449 plus sales tax from the Google Play site, the Pixel may well be premium but as to whether or not it is desirable, the jury is still out. As well as LTE mobile internet, the Chromebook Pixel offers wifi connection, a full touch screen, 4GB of RAM and a 64GB solid state hard disk. In terms of applications, users have access to whatever web-based software Google offers within Google Drive plus 100GB of free cloud-based storage. It's also worth remembering that although the notebook connects to the LTE superfast mobile broadband network, it doesn't support the older, more common 3G standard, meaning that if LTE is unavailable, the computer is unable to step down to 3G and maintain a connection. In other words, no LTE signal, no internet.
In comparison, Apple's range of super-lightweight Mac book Air notebooks -- which have a full operating system more powerful chipsets, a larger hard drive and a range of leading edge software available -- start at $999 for the 11-inch model while its professional range of MacBook Pro laptops start at $1199 for a 13-inch model complete with a 500GB hard disk and an optical drive capable of reading and writing DVDs. Its battery also lasts 7 hours, compared with the Chromebook Pixel's 5 hours. Such comparisons make the Chromebook Pixel look like essentially a glorified internet browser --and a pricy one, at that -- however the concept itself is a very valid one.
The original Chromebooks were offered as cheaper, safer and faster alternatives to traditional notebooks with installed operating systems (such as Windows or Mac OSX), and after two years on the market, according to Chitika Insights, the Chrome OS now accounts for 0.7 percent of North American web traffic. That's still a tiny amount but considering it accounted for less than 0.2 percent as recently as October 2012 it is clearly starting to take hold.
Google is yet to confirm when the Pixel will be available outside the US.