At a press event in San Francisco today, Google has unveiled the Chromebook Pixel, the latest addition to the expanding line of Chrome OS-based laptops. As one of the company’s first ventures into hardware, the Pixel represents a change of direction with Google’s strategy, and the hardware inside shows that Google is pitching it towards a higher end of the market than existing ‘disposable’ models from the likes of Samsung, Acer, Lenovo and HP.
The Chromebook Pixel has a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 32GB of solid state storage coupled with 1TB of additional Google Drive storage free for 3 years, usually costing $49.99 per month. A 720p HD webcam sits above the market-leading 239ppi 12.85″ 2560 x 1700 touch display and, with its £1,049 ($1,299) price tag, the machine is being pitched as the world’s first premium Chromebook, and the company will be shipping it next week via Google Play and through retail partners, with a $1,499 model with twice the internal storage and support for Verizon’s LTE network set to hit US stores in April.
Recently we’ve seen new Chromebook models from Acer, Samsung and more recently Lenovo, and a spec sheet discovered on HP’s site shows that they too are throwing their hats into the cloud-based computing ring. The PDF states that the 14″ 1366 x 768 Pavilion Chromebook is capable of running for 4 hours 15 minutes on a charge, and the remainder of its hardware appears reminiscent of a mashup between Acer’s C7 and Samsung’s Series 3, with the C7’s 1.1GHz Intel Celeron 847 processor coupled with 16GB of solid state storage as found in the Samsung model. The whole package weighs in at 1.8kg and it features 3 USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI port, although a disc drive remains absent. There is no word on when we will see this hitting store shelves, but another major Windows manufacturer beginning Chromebook production is bound to cause shivers in Redmond.
Not long after releasing its new Series 3 Chromebook, Samsung has announced a new version of its Series 3 Chromebox desktop computer powered by Google’s Chrome OS. While the new Chromebox has an all-new plastic shell, the hardware is identical to the previous iteration, with the same 1.9GHz Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB RAM, 16GB solid state storage and wide array of USB ports. While online Chrome OS retailers such as Currys PC World and Amazon do not appear to be stocking the device at the time of writing, a Chrome Story reader claims he was able to buy one from PC World in Bristol at the same £279 price tag as the earlier iteration, suggesting that widespread availability for cloud-loving desktop users is not too far off.
Need another cloud storage service? Google Drive is Google’s attempt at a Dropbox killer, with 5GB free storage, Google Docs integration and lower upgrade prices than Dropbox. At Digixav, however, we wholeheartedly recommend SkyDrive for your cloud needs, as it trumps its rivals with 7GB free (25GB if you had an account before Sunday), great apps on iOS and Windows Phone, and even lower upgrade costs after yesterday’s relaunch.