Chromebook Pixel: A pretty expensive dumb terminal

$1,299?! For a laptop that weighs over 3 pounds, and only lasts 5 hours? And it won't even run Premiere Pro, or Photoshop?

Google Chromebook Pixel
Google’s New Chromebook Pixel: Pretty. But also pretty expensive for a cloud-based device with a limited operating system.

Is it just me or is Google’s freshly announced Chromebook Pixel laptop a pretty expensive dumb terminal? Or, a 2013 reincarnation of the netbook with a 400% price hike. In the words of Sean Connery in Goldfinger, you must be joking!

Okay, that’s not entirely fair. The Pixel does pack an Intel i5, an impressive high-res touchscreen (2560×1700 for goodness’ sake) rated twice that of HD, active cooling, and an aluminum body (hello Mac!).

But $1,299?

For a laptop that weighs over 3 pounds, and only lasts 5 hours?

And it won’t even run Premiere Pro, or Photoshop?

You must be joking!

True, this is a cloud device. Google is including 1 TB (for three years) of storage. That’s a generous serving. But my suspicion is that people want low-cost cloud devices – essentially smartphones but with larger screens and keyboards. For $199 or thereabouts, the value proposition is clear… anyone can afford one, and they make for great runabouts, and secondary machines.

When you price a laptop, however, in the thousand dollar territory you’re asking a lot from consumers.

This is a machine that runs the nascent Chrome operating system, essentially a web browser with HTML 5 apps.

Granted I do most of my work in the browser – WordPress, Google, Gmail, etc. – so, yes, the Pixel could handle a lot of my busy work. But for $1,300 or so I can get a MacBook Air, which, of course, will run Chrome and all of the apps, but also let me do video editing, and run any other high performance software.

I like the Pixel concept… at, say, $400 or so. Here I was thinking Google was going to package some sort of Surface killer (not that the Microsoft tablet needs any help dying mind you).

ALSO: Android 4.2.2 – What’s New (tested on Nexus 4)

The Pixel, at the premium price Google is commanding for what is essentially a cloud terminal – or a large format smartphone with keyboard to put it another way – requires a rather liberal stretch of the imagination.

Still, I do like where Google is headed with the concept. In a few years I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chome start taking significant chunks of share away from Mac OS X and Windows. No doubt, Apple and Microsoft are (and have been) studying its evolution closely. The current iteration is not likely to be a megahit with consumers. Then again, maybe this is all part of Google’s master plan.

That’s my first reaction at least. The announcement is still soaking in, and I need to spend some quality time with Pixel. But so far, I think this one’s going to be a tough sell. No ejector seat?! Pfft.

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  • Erik Huntoon

    Completely agree!