Chromebook Pixel first thoughts

Om Malik:

I surfed through a few websites — and clicked on a lot of ads, unintentionally. I used Google Maps and Google Photos and used touch to experience them. I am guessing that there is a growing number of people who want touch on their laptops — I simply use the iPad for all things cloud.

That said, I have some reservations about the device and its positioning. It is hard to pay $1,299 for a device when I can get a better-equipped MacBook Air, which despite its age is a lot more flexible and expandable. Pichai said that he wanted to focus on the high end of the market because they want power users, early adopters and developers to embrace this platform.

Om has a lot of good points in his article — it’s definitely worth a read. I especially like that he argues with Google about it.

  • In a world where there really was enough software hosted in the cloud (such as HTML apps) other than Google’s suite and Angry birds, Google would have something with this. But we’re not there yet. At least this thing doesn’t have to run a virus scanner like Windows PCs.

    • JohnDoey

      We will never be in a world that only has Web apps. That is a ridiculous myth that comes from the idea that only Web apps can access the Internet. We are further from that now than we were 5 years ago. Half the world’s apps are in HTML5 and half are in C/C++, and 100% access the Internet (or will very soon.) That is why Apple supports both of those API’s and nothing else. That is why Android apps such so bad — they are Java and there are hardly any Java apps. Java is used on servers. If you are a developer who is about to start building an app, it is totally obvious whether that app should be HTML5 or C/C++. One will make your app great, the other will make your app suck. Facebook or Twitter? HTML5. Final Cut Pro or a 3D game? C/C++. An HTML5 Final Cut would SUCK. If Facebook had been written only in C/C++ from the start it would have 10% of the user base.

      Any time you hear someone saying that 1 solution will suit 100%, be skeptical. Only 90% of people are right-handed. Only 90% of people are heterosexual. There always needs to be at least 2 options. HTML5 and C/C++ compliment each other. They are not fighting to the death. Neither one is endangered.

      • The real killer of ChromeBooks is expensive bandwidth. It’s not hard to grow cloud server capacity to meet demand, and it’s not hard to build user-centric applications in HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript, especially when you have as much cash as Google has.

        The weak link in this whole paradigm is the cost of LTE. 100 MB a month is useless – it’s essentially a fallback when you’re away from 802.11, not a competitively-priced business expense. If Google and Verizon would sharpen their pencils, this thing would be a world-beater.

  • $1,449 with LTE, but that does not include the monthly LTE data charge from the carrier, does it?

    1TB storage in the cloud is great, but transferring all of those big files up to the cloud will eat quite a bit of LTE data plan. Unless there is a setting in the OS for users to limit large file uploads to be via WIFI only.

    • And did I read correctly that the LTE plan only includes 100MB per month? That’s like 20 high-res photos. I get that the LTE is for use when there is no WiFi around, but c’mon…

      $1,449 is a lot of money for a laptop that you can’t install software on.

      • imthedude

        It’s perfect for photographers 1TB of unreachable storage, and they can edit their pictures in Picnic. This thing is a joke.

        • Google also bought Snapseed.

          • imthedude

            Is Snapseed a webapp? Nope.

          • Never said it was, but since it is a google property I don’t see why they wouldn’t make a version for chromeOS in the future or merge picnic and snapseed.

          • JohnDoey

            Does Snapseed replace Aperture? Does Chrome OS handle every kind of RAW file like a Mac or iPad?

            A photographer is better off with 2 $599 32GB iPad Retinas than a ChromeBook.

          • Chill out man. I was just mentioning that picnic is not the only photo software that Google has. They also have picasa.

      • JohnDoey

        MacBook Air plus LTE iPad mini = $1448. It is $1 less to get Apple, Mac apps, iPad apps, iPhone apps, and the flexibility of using either machine alone when that is appropriate.

  • GTWilson

    “The device is for a segment committed to living to the cloud, and who really want a good, high-end laptop, and we believe we have built the best laptop for that experience,”

    I may be wrong but I don’t see enough cloud yet to justify the thing. A bit heavy on the optimism.

    • JohnDoey

      Not to mention that the Chrome browser runs on iPad and Mac and iPhone already. So a $329 iPad mini already gives you a touch Chrome, and a $499 iPad Retina gives you a high-res touch Chrome. Even of you are really into Chrome, a ChromeBook is not the best choice. The touch and trackpad on this $1299 ChromeBook have already been described as “janky.”

  • Why does Google think that it’s the “32gb local” that’s going to scare people away instead of the inability to use native code applications on a laptop-priced machine?

    Sorry, I think it’s awfully depressing that Flash needs an i5 processor.

  • This is purely for the “prosumer/developer” segment.

    • Experimental OS
    • The external ports aren’t even labeled
    • Rediculous Price tag.

    This is Google saying “Chromebooks don’t have to be cheap plastic netbook things, they can be high-end Apple rip-offs too!”

    • JohnDoey

      Most consumer-oriented software developers have been on Macs since 2006, when Macs got Intel chips. App Store in 2008 sealed the deal, made Xcode a must-have app for developers. The majority of professional Web developers have always been on the Mac, for the entire history of the Web. I don’t see how ChromeBook Pixel is a pro machine — it just has a pro price. In the old days, developers complained about the lack of a command line on the Mac — the command line and native C API on Chrome OS are closed off, it is less developer-centric than Mac OS 9.

      • I said it was a prosumer/developer segment machine. These are types of people that are tech enthusiasts. I did not say it is a professional machine. It is a prosumer machine because only advanced consumers will know how to make sense out of it. The average computer user will balk at that price, be confused about the OS, not know how to identify the ports, and wouldn’t know what to do with 1TB of cloud data storage. I mentioned developers because some might be interested in ponying up that kind of money to hack around with the machine and the OS.

  • quietstorms

    So far Google hasn’t really shown me that they are capable of making quality hardware at a reasonable price. The previous example being the Nexus Q.

    This is yet another product that will appeal to no one.

    • rj

      What’s wrong with the Nexus 4, 7, and 10?

      • quietstorms

        Do you mean besides OEMs being responsible for the hardware? Nothing.

        • Tvaddic

          That settles it, nothings wrong with those products.

    • Tvaddic

      What do you mean? Everyone said the Nexus Q was quality, and good looking hardware. It was just expenisve.

      • rattyuk

        The issue was that it didn’t actually work which is why it was pulled. Also rj 5,7 and 10 are hawked out to other companies, this product is a “Google” manufacture.

        • rj

          The techcrunch article says they have an unnamed Asian manufacturing partner, so I’m not sure there’s a meaningful distinction here. The Nexus 4/7/10 are sold with a Google label in the Google Play store, same as the ChromeBook Pixel.

          Nobody – including Apple – actually manufactures their own stuff.

          • JohnDoey

            The question is who-designed-it and who-supports-it. With Apple, the answer is Apple. With everybody else, you never know.

      • JohnDoey

        The Nexus Q got such bad reviews that Google did not ship it. It was $299 and provided exactly one feature of the $99 AppleTV, and not even well. Plus it was giant.

  • rj

    The dude in the video does a great job of channeling Phil Schiller.

  • Dave Brandt

    Jim, I think that part of the reason that Google is building stores is given by Om:

    “..If you have photos on an SD card, then the device will automatically find and upload them to Google Plus Photos, a somewhat creepy and evil tactic by Google to goose its Google Plus un-social network. Of course you can share those photos via Google Plus and other Google services — never mind the fact that we like to use Twitter and Facebook and Instagram to share. “

    If Google can get the Tracked Generation hooked on a Google OS, then the whole Google spy operation is that much more efficient. If they control the whole computer rather than just offering Google services inside someone else’s OS, they will get more ads in front of eyeballs. Clearly they don’t want someone else to own the OS. Not Apple — since they’ve already pissed Apple off — or Microsoft — since they want to replace Google services with their own.

    The stores are part of a long-term strategy. Its not about selling any specific POS.

    • JohnDoey

      But consumers are already hooked on much better and much cheaper iPads and Macs.

  • Google should just buy Apple and be done with it.

    • LMAO! That there is some funny shit!

    • JohnDoey

      The other way around does make some sense.

  • JohnDoey

    There are only a fairly small number of people who will pay $999-and-up for a computer, and over 90% of them already have Macs. The rest are running $5000 workstations for things like 3D animation.

    If you want a touchscreen for your Mac, that is $329 extra (iPad mini.) If you want LTE you get that for $130 more in the iPad and it acts as a hotspot for the Mac (which it can do for over 24 hours on a charge.)

    If you consider MacBook Air and iPad as one thing, it is about $30 more than the ChromeBook Pixel. For that you get Apple support, Mac apps, iPad apps, iPhone apps, smaller devices, and you can use the iPad alone on a plane or at a meeting.

    Google believes its own PR — big problem. That is also Microsoft’s problem. Their products have no humility. An iPad or Mac proves itself again and again and pays for itself again and again.

  • BGC

    Google would a decent company if they’d divert from the “I want all your data now to sell ads” model and offer their undeniably interesting services for a monthly fee & guaranteed privacy as an option.