22
Feb
chromebookpixeltiny

Yesterday, Google did what Google does best: announce a first version of something that is completely ridiculous, very few people care about, most folks mocked, and that will ultimately end up forgotten in the annals of internet history. No offense, Goog. Some later products are spectacular, but let's be real. Very rarely does Google get it right on the first try.

However, the Chromebook Pixel is still a huge deal and the savvy analyst should take notice, because things just changed in a big way. Google isn't selling a product with this new laptop, it's making a statement. It's planting a flag on the future because, well, no flag, no future.

So, what exactly is Google thinking, here?

Google Is Staking Out The Real Laptop Market

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Contrary to popular belief, the market for full-size laptops (and to a lesser extent desktops) hasn't completely died off. Tablets are growing at an incredible rate, but there still remain quite a few people who want or need to own laptops. This is largely due to software. Windows and OS X remain the most powerful operating systems on the planet. Partly because they were built during times when command lines, file explorers, and automated scripts were the best ways to get things done, and they still retain much of that low-level tinkering ability (yes, even OS X is pretty powerful in that regard). More importantly, though, there are decades of app development behind them.

However, as long as people continue to sit down and do work for long stretches of time (read: until the universe ends), there will always be a market for full keyboards, larger displays, and more precise tools. This is why desktops and eventually laptops took off. You don't always need something that fits in your pocket or handbag, and electronics are cheap enough that realistically we don't have to choose one or the other. How many of us have a laptop and a phone and a tablet? It's not that uncommon.

The trouble is, Google is completely unprepared for this world. The company was founded in 1998 (yes, Google is barely a teenager), whereas its main competitors, Microsoft and Apple, have been around since the mid-70s. Despite appearing to be peers, if the companies were humans, Microsoft and Apple could be Google's mom and dad. (We'll leave you to decide which one gets which gender role.)

In that context, Google has a very pressing need to catch up to the real PC market. No, it's not the sexiest product segment, nor is it a huge growth driver, but as I'll get to in a bit, this isn't about growth. This is about completeness. Unfortunately, as much as we (and the world) love Android, it's not enough. If you're an Apple fan and you want to have nothing but Apple products in your life, you can do that. Google fans can't. Otherwise I might not be writing this on a Windows desktop.

Chrome OS has very obviously been the company's attempt at a fuller operating system and it's sort of worked. Chromebooks are decently popular. Acer says 5-10% of its shipments are Chromebooks, and Samsung's model is still the best-selling laptop on Amazon. That's big. But that's also because of the price. A $200 laptop is an easy purchase.

Up until this point, we've all operated under the assumption that Google has been content to let Chrome OS be a side project, something it updates once a year and lets other companies release cheap hardware for. It's not for most people. The Chromebook Pixel changes all that. Google is saying, "No. This the OS we're sticking with for laptops and we are prepared to see it through."

Google Is Making Real, Quality Hardware Now, All On Its Own

Google has a lot of ground to make up with its software. It's hard to deny that. As long as you can't use Photoshop, play AAA gaming, or do most of the stuff that you would need that Core i5 for, Google will continue to have work to do. You know where they're killing it, though? Hardware.

Disregard, for just a moment, the price and software. This is just an unannounced laptop running either Windows or OS X. Whichever you'd prefer. Look at that hardware. Does that look like something that Google made? Actually, yes. Yes, it does. Which says a lot about the company's reputation for design over the last couple years. More importantly, though, it looks good. It's not going to please everyone (in fact I can already picture at least some of you rushing to the comments to tell me how ugly it is and how wrong I am), but compare this to most laptops and between the high-density touchscreen, the glass touchpad, and the unibody frame, this thing is clearly on the high-end (aside from the bizarre and offensive 3:2 aspect ratio).

The biggest deal of all, though, is the name. This is the Chromebook Pixel. Not the Samsung Pixel. Not the Acer Chromebook P107. Not the Lenovo PixelPad. It's just the Chromebook Pixel. Google makes it. More specifically, it works with ODMs to manufacture the hardware. This is more or less exactly what Apple does. Apple works with Foxconn, for example, to build many of its products. Foxconn is an ODM. Apple does the designing and Foxconn does the building.

Only now Google's getting a piece of that pie. And the implications for that are staggering. Google has, until very recently, been purely a software company. It never made its own things (aside from the Nexus Q). That was silly! Heck, it couldn't. When the main OS it was pushing was Android, there was almost no way to manufacture its own stuff without pissing off other OEMs.

Today, the landscape has changed dramatically. Not only has the meteoric rise in Apple's profits proven that the best way to make money is to build your own hardware, but we also continue to see proof that it's the best way to make products. When there are as few gaps between hardware and software as possible, the engineers, the designers, and the consumers all win.

Google couldn't do that with Android. It still kind of can't (though we'll see what kind of effect the Motorola acquisition has), but Chrome OS is a whole different ball game. We're still kind of unsure why we would want a web browser to replace a whole operating system, but here's the thing: maybe it doesn't have to?

Google Is Building An Experience

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Here's what makes Chrome OS powerful. It can make use of NaCl, which is a sandboxed method of running native code inside a browser environment. In other words, while Chrome OS may be "just a browser", it's a browser that kicks ass, and can do a whole lot more than Firefox or IE can. For example, Bastion. Not only is this an immensely popular game (that costs $15 on Steam right now, implying this is a step up from your average Android game), but it can be run in Chrome on your Windows machine or on a Pixel. Right now.

One game isn't enough, though, right? Well, how about a productivity suite? Remember QuickOffice? Google bought the company several months back. We all figured it would be to improve Google Docs Drive. Well, we were wrong. It's actually going to come built in to the Chromebook Pixel. This $1,300 laptop will come with an office suite for free.

The software isn't there yet, but when you start adding up all the pieces, suddenly you start to see a model, a framework for selling laptops that looks remarkably familiar. If you were to seriously consider buying a Mac right now, most of you would begin by trying to justify the price over a comparable PC. Invariably, one of the arguments in favor of Apple is that it comes with all the software you need out of the box (this is more true for some than others, but go with it).

Here's the crazy part: Google is already most of the way to providing all the basics that people need. Email. Word processing. Calendar. Document storage. Maps. Video. Photos. Social networking. Google does a lot of what the average user needs and the web fills in most of the gaps. While the holes that exist are big, they're almost exclusively in areas where a lot of money is spent like gaming and content creation. These need to be addressed. They absolutely need to be addressed. And Chrome OS will continue to be a niche product until they are addressed.

However, Google knows that the future of software is the internet. Apps are at their best when they integrate with the online universe as fully as possible. Take Google Now. This is one of the most innovative products in the world, and most of it happens on servers halfway across the country or the world. The line between local and global is blurring.

Google Is Doing Things, But It's Not Nearly Done Yet

Is Chrome OS there yet? No. Not even remotely. But that's not the point. We will almost certainly hear some cool new announcements about the platform at I/O this year because what else can we get excited about? Some new version of Android with one or two cool features we'll play with for a week and then ignore until it's time to complain about how the carriers aren't updating phones fast enough? Call me crazy, but I'm not looking forward to that song and dance again.

There is one major area that Google needs to address, though: laptops. The future is ubiquitous platforms and self-branded hardware. Microsoft knows it. That's why we're seeing the company push so hard with the Surface. Sure, it wants to see other companies produce touchscreen hardware and fully utilize Windows 8, but ultimately, Microsoft wants to control its own destiny. Awkward and disjointed as it may be, it even has the platform to do it. Windows is on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

Apple has it covered, too. iOS powers media players, phones, and tablets, while OS X runs laptops and desktops. It doesn't have one unified, ubiquitous OS, but it's close enough for right now. Google has no such luxury. Whether it's scaling Android up, or building out Chrome OS's capabilities, it needs to do something.

That's what the Chromebook Pixel is about. It's a statement that Google is not just an internet company. It's not just the Android company. It's not just here to provide the software for other people's devices. It wants to sell its own products, be an electronics company in its own right, and to stand next to its elders and say "I belong here among giants." Whether it sells a ton of Pixels or not, Google accomplished two things: one, it's learned (and will continue to learn) lessons about making and marketing laptops, and two, it proved to the world that Google hardware is awesome.

The Chromebook Pixel won't sell. But the vision Google's pushing just might.

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • HotInEER

    This is a pure experiment They don't expect it to sell well. I think they put this out to see what people will do with this. How will developers react and create stuff for it. The chrome web store will explode with great apps. A lot of people have complained about the other chromebooks, saying it's cheap, and no powerful apps. However this changes the game. This is a beautiful piece of equipment. Google has upped the hardware and made a bold move. This is very cutting edge.

    Google has done it's part, now devs need to step up and make great apps for it. I expect tons of productive and creative apps to be made. This device will do for chromebooks what the Nexus 1 did for android. Heck, on their own website it says What Will Be Next.

    • PeterIsemann

      I'm totally with you! Just image a company like Adobe with their famous state-of-the-art Photoshop. These days, you need a powerful machine with Windows or Mac OSX. Companies who can afford it buy the licence, lots and lots of small companies and "artists" just download pirated versions and uses them. Think of the possibility of server-sided rendering where no powerful machine is needed, have the software up and running on all platforms, even on TV sets and 4" smartphone screens if this is your thing and licencing is done via Chrome Web Store. They just have to see a demand for it and they will make the jump, sooner or later. Flash for mobile got killed, Adobe is supercharging their HTML5 department. And this is just one company, there are many many more. Seriously, if all your games would run on Gaikai or OnLive and Photoshop/Adobe Premiere would be web-based and you are not a company, what's missing?

      • John O’Connor

        No need for Pirating of Adobe anymore. They provide a free download of CS2 and a few other "legacy apps". What I find interesting about that is there are some sellers on Amazon still trying to sell the software for hundreds of dollars.

        Google is clearly making a genius move in marketing. They don't expect these to sell well, if at all(based on current specs), but will bring all sorts of interest in all things chromebooks once again. I think it is just the tip of the iceberg on many great things to come in the near future. They have to justify their up and coming brick n mortars and ensure there are plenty of products to market (other than third party accessories and devices although a central location for all things Android/Google/Chrome regardless of company cannot hurt)

        I can see some sort of merger between chrome OS and Android making it possible to work/play/live on any device and move over to another device and have the same shared experience. Perhaps when their Fiber network is built out they will just provide ubiquitous free WIFI for all Android devices. Some of these thoughts/ideas may be a stretch at the moment, but there is so much going on behind closed doors that we are not privy to yet.

        • s427

          From what I read, the "free CS2 download" was a misunderstanding. Unfortunately I don't remember the details but the bottom line is that Adobe CS2 isn't free.

          • Jaymoon

            Basically because CS2 is now "Legacy software", they killed the activation servers. So a valid serial is all you need, and of course the installation files.

            But Adobe gives you the setup: http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/entitlement/index.cfm?pid=4485850&e=cs2_downloads

            And when I log in to my free Adobe ID account (having never purchased ANY Adobe software through this account), it gives me a serial number too.

            So Adobe says it's not free... but give you the program and serial ...for free. Ok Adobe, whatever!

            BTW Photoshop CS2 works great in WINE!

          • John O’Connor

            I stand corrected. After checking out their site again, they have disabled activation completely. Whereas there was some confusion like you stated prior, they have now completely discontinued the servers. Many people took advantage of the opportunity at the time.

      • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

        PhotoShop as a web-based app? I hate to ruin your imagination. Even when I am working on an image that's for web usage, I rarely see my scratch disk size goes below 3Gb. We are far from having internet connection that can provide such demand. Image/Video production and game playing are two entirely different things. Most modern games are designed to run in real time, however, image/video production still involves a lot of click-n-wait.

    • Tarek El-Ghazaly

      You lost me at "The chrome web store will explode with great apps".... I really think the sooner they make Android desktop-friendly and replace Chrome, the better. Now's the time, with Windows 8 being a ridiculously bad flop.

      • caustictoast

        A flop selling the same way as its record setting predecessor? I didn't know flops did that.

      • Low IQ

        Android and Chrome has two different purposes? not a good analogy?

  • Burat69

    "NO ONE'S GOING TO BUY..." - people already ordered (bought) it. What kind of nonsense are you talking about?

    • HotInEER

      I agree, see my post below. This is a beautiful device full of potential. The next 2 generations will be even better once the apps catch up.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      I feel like if you're going to get hung up on the pedantry of "no one" in a literal sense versus "no one" in a commercially successful sense, you're going to miss the spirit of this article no matter what I say to you.

      • Burat69

        You're a writer/blogger. Aren't you supposed to be more accurate when it comes to your choice of words? Do you really honestly believe that "NO ONE'S GOING TO BUY..." is appropriate for what you're trying to convey to your readers?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

          Yep. Because I'm a writer. I understand the difference between being needlessly pedantic (no one in their right mind actually believes the number of sales will be zero, so it's not necessary to explain it) and writing for effect. I used to believe that it was necessary for every single word I wrote to be perfectly accurate and to never exaggerate, amplify, or emphasize, and to always spend at least a paragraph explaining meticulously what everyone already knows.

          Then I grew up and got a job.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-P-Odegard/100001104129904 Michael P Odegard

            Let me see if I understand you correctly. As a writer, with a job, it's more important to use words for effect than accuracy? Does that also mean that stating your opinions as facts is also necessary? I can appreciate trying to share your opinion and perception, and to write in such as to convey those properly.
            However, I am confused by the need to lose accuracy and to create artificial "facts" in that task. If I am wrong, and should not look for these things here, please tell me that, and I will read elsewhere.

          • Jim H.

            As a writer, it is always one's job to use language in a way that will engage the reader and communicate ideas with a minimum of friction. Using more colorful, conversational language is a time-honored way to do that.

          • Burat69

            Well you categorized this article of yours as an EDITORIAL, so you're just basically presenting your opinion. But it does not necessarily mean that you're presenting facts. :)

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          I think you're missing the point of an editorial. He's not describing an event as per a reporter, he's illustrating an opinion to convey a theme. Obviously there will be some people that will buy this, but it won't be enough that you or I are likely to see two completely unrelated people with this laptop (by unrelated, I mean they have nothing to do with each other professionally or personally).

          Anybody getting caught up on this kind of stuff must have an aneurysm within seconds of viewing sites like TechCrunch or Engadget.

    • Jim H.

      I think you might have some sort of language/socialization difficulty. In informal discourse, people often say (and write!) "no one" when they mean "few people" and "everyone" when they actually just mean "many people." And when I say "informal speech," by the way, I mean speech that is some degree less formal than, say, a peer-reviewed research paper on quantum physics. Heads of state, federal judges, and lots of other very serious people use these everyday colloquialisms. Try engaging with real humans now and then, and you just might see it for yourself!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cole.mickens Cole Mickens

    Yeah, why would any developer buy a laptop with a gorgeous high res screen, great keyboard, great construction and with out-of-the-box Linux support.

    • GazaIan

      When did this become a developer only laptop? Actual consumers can buy it, though very little actually will.

    • squiddy20

      Yeah, why would anyone (let alone developers) buy a $1300 laptop that is nothing more than a souped up browser? I like Google and Android, but this is just ridiculous. I'd rather go out and buy a Macbook Pro or Air that has a real OS and hard drive, and partition the HDD to run OS X, Windows, and Linux (as I've done on my 2009 MBP). Or at the very least, get a decent run-of-the-mill laptop with a MUCH bigger HDD, and generally better specs for 2/3 of the cost.

  • Martin

    "Windows and OS X remain the most powerful operating systems on the planet."

    Which planet?

    • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

      The one we live in now, I think it's called "Earth"? Yeah, when was the last time you grabbed your tablet and started programming in front of your Windows or OS X machine?

      • marcusmaximus04

        Not that I disagree with your premise entirely, but I've actually been programming my game exclusively on my Nexus 7 and Nexus 10(synced over dropbox) for a few months now. AIDE + CCTools and a bluetooth keyboard pretty well covers that.

        Heck, I've even made a few textures for it using Photoshop Touch.

        • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

          Hardcore programming (at least for me) requires me to have a big screen, and comfortable features. Also, Android Programming is not the only thing I was referring to. I have tried CodeEdit (and others) but it's just not the same.

          • marcusmaximus04

            Ya, I'm aware of the trade-offs. For myself, the portability and ability to test on the same device I'm writing for overwhelmed the loss of screen space. Obviously, that won't be true for everyone, but it's my experience. It was relevant to your question, so I thought I'd share my experience.

          • Matthew Fry

            I... I didn't even... that's a great idea. Do you have a keyboard case for your N10 or just a bluetooth keyboard?

          • marcusmaximus04

            I have a zaggkeys flex keyboard. Its kinda both. The carrying case for it folds out and acts as a stand for the tablet. Works well for me, cause I can use it for both the nexus 7 and the nexus 10

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      The one with Photoshop, After Effects, every Valve game known to man, Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, Microsoft Office, Pro Tools, Massive....

      • Martin

        "Greatest number of useful programs" is a fine argument.

        I guess I understood "powerful" quite differently. My bad.

        • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

          Power = Compatibility, it's hardware 101

    • TheFirstUniverseKing

      Assuming you're talking about Linux distributions, how are they more powerful? They have greater customization and added security (that's debatable), but when it comes to quantity and quality of apps Linux is shit.

  • hurrpancakes

    IMO, I just don't see the market for this. Pay $50 more, and you'll get a Mac with a similar high resolution display, that can do everything the Pixel can do, and much much more.

    Maybe in the future when productivity is more integrated with web apps and what not, the Pixel might be useful, but it's just too damn expensive for a laptop that is only a web browser.

    • DrewNusser

      I mostly agree, except the Mac is missing the touch screen. Still, Chrome OS has a LONG way to go before this starts looking attractive to me. Putting Android on it would honestly get me a lot closer to buying this thing.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        It's true that Macs don't have touch screens, and Apple has even publicly panned the idea. However, now that Windows 8 is driving touch-based laptops and clearly Google is about to make the same push, Apple will be in an awkward position were the demand for touch support will force them into adding it. The last thing Apple wants to do is allow consumers to dismiss them automatically because of a missing feature. The same thing happened when they added a back-facing camera to the iPad 2 after people kept comparing the original iPad with Android tablets equipped with front and back facing cameras. If you watched the announcement of the iPad 2, you could feel Steve Jobs wanting to say, "You asked for it, here's your damn camera, even though you'll never use it".

        I give it a year (max) before Apple announces the 15" Macbook Pro RetinaTouch ;)

        • DrewNusser

          I agree, but you know that thing will easily be $2000+ when they finally do cave. I just wish more people would make fully featured web apps so the Pixel would make more sense. The hardware seems awesome, but you'd have to be in serious denial if you didn't think that Windows/OSX/Ubuntu weren't more capable right now.

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            If you're buying the 15" MBP, considered the standard for most professional users, it's virtually impossible to come in under $2000 already. Even when I bought mine in 2009, a couple of necessary upgrades pushed it over the line very quickly, and I timed the discounts perfectly.

            In all practicality, there will never be a time when those operating systems aren't more capable. Simple logic, if they can run the Chrome web browser, they can do everything Chrome OS can currently do, and everything else they already do. Until Chrome OS does something other than run their own web browser, there's never going to be a point where Chrome OS is a compelling OS choice over the others unless the goal is to limit how the device is used. Price has been the driving factor for most Chromebook sales.

    • Matthew Fry

      Uh no. Actually no you can't. This is the highest density laptop screen ever made.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1569417452 Tyler Watthanaphand

        The MacBook Pro Retina has 100 less pixels out of almost four and a half million pixels. I would still buy a MacBook over this, just because of the OS and storage

        • Matthew Fry

          It's also 2" larger diagonally.

        • Dang Ren Bo

          It's 100 fewer in height. It's actually 256,000 fewer pixels, or 6% less. Just an FYI.

      • hurrpancakes

        Um yea. Actually I said similar, which does not mean the same. Also, 12 additional pixels per inch is hardly much of a notable difference.

        • Matthew Fry

          Woah woah. 19. 19 pixels more.

    • Mitchell Feigley

      Did you read the article?

      "We're still kind of unsure why we would want a web browser to replace a whole operating system, but here's the thing: maybe it doesn't have to?
      Here's what makes Chrome OS powerful. It can make use of NaCl, which is a sandboxed method of running native code inside a browser environment. In other words, while Chrome OS may be "just a browser", it's a browser that kicks ass, and can do a whole lot more than Firefox or IE can."

      • hurrpancakes

        Is an installation of Chrome on Windows or OSX unable to do the same thing?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

          There are things that Chrome can do that "just a web browser" can't. How much of that transfers over to a desktop operating system is unclear (partly because researching the differences between to nearly identically-named products has to be the one of the biggest PITA I've ever dealt with).

          However, that doesn't matter too much. Because _if_ Chrome OS could do everything that a user needed it to, then people would want to jump to it in a heartbeat. Why? Because Windows is bloated clunky. The more I use Android, as an example, the more I realize just how spoiled the OS makes me, and antagonistic towards other operating systems. I've come to abhor Windows' file manager (particularly the way there seems to be five different style of "open file" dialog boxes, so even creating side bar shortcuts doesn't help all the time). Also, I have 8GB of RAM and a core i3 in my machine and I *still* get regular "out of memory" issues or crashes under simple apps.

          Microsoft could fix this, but it seems to be focused on making my 23" desktop monitor more "tablet friendly." This is the sole reason that a capable Chrome OS could actually make waves. Of course, that opportunity would be gone completely if Microsoft managed to fix a lot of the problems with its desktop OS that have persisted for years, but I think if that were going to (or could) happen, it would've happened when Macs finally started eating away at their marketshare.

          • Sootie

            How the heck are you running out of memory with 8gb?

          • John O’Connor

            It does happen. My thought is poor coding and memory management. I see it happen at least once a week with my win8 device with 16gb ram. Sad when the new IE along with a 6 or 7 open ms office 2010 apps can crash a high end win8 computer.

            Personally, I had a bluescreen within 24hrs of ownership before I even had a chance to load any software other than its own updates. And it even hung at reboot at that.

          • Freak4Dell

            Um...I think you have a memory leak somewhere. My regular use machines are a Core 2 Quad with 6GB of RAM and a Core i5 with 6GB. I've never once ran into a memory issue on either one. The latter system replaced a system that was a Core i5 with 4GB, and no issues on that one, either. Even when doing intense tasks like photo or video editing that rapes both the CPU and the RAM, I don't have memory issues.

            I hate, hate, hate the UI of Windows 8, but Microsoft didn't just make your desktop monitor tablet friendly. They also made the OS faster. There is a noticeable speed increase between Win7 and Win8, and Win7 was already pretty fast on my machines.

            If Chrome did everything Windows could do, it would be just as "bloated". Windows hasn't been bloated since Vista. Microsoft made a crapload of under-the-hood improvements with 7, and even more with 8.

            It's also hilarious that you somehow think Android is not bloated. Android STILL lags at times on top of the line hardware. Trust me, I love Android, but saying if you think it's a sleek, super-light OS, you're delusional.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

            I have multiple memory leaks, I think. I tracked down one to a process called Runtime Broker. It's a permissions manager for Metro apps. I made the mistake of perusing the Windows Store and trying out a couple of apps. Installed them, fiddled with them, forgot about them. Later on, Runtime Broker was using up around a gig of RAM. It should normally use 1-2MB. I immediately uninstalled all of the Metro apps I had and no longer had this problem.

            So far, this hasn't fixed all the issues I've experienced, but you're right that there are some issues related to my usage. However, that issue in particular was at least one issue that resulted in trying to use Windows 8 in exactly the way it was intended. Runtime Broker is a new process, unique to Windows 8. All the apps I installed were promoted apps, featured in the Microsoft Store. It's also worth pointing out that I tracked down the Runtime Broker issue thanks to some threads that said that apps I didn't have installed were to blame for their issues. So it wasn't just a case of "this one developer made a crummy app." Multiple Windows Store apps resulted in the same memory leak that end up swallowing obscene amounts of RAM.

            Given that I'm *still* having some memory issues (though not quite as much), I'm less than inclined to believe that I've found all the problems but at this point, and at points prior, I've used and run the exact same set of apps as I did on Windows 7, but I'm having these issues. Maybe I'm in the minority here. That's entirely possible. But I still struggle with Windows on a daily basis and I'm no average user.

            Call me crazy, but I don't think that diagnosing memory leaks in new permissions management apps should be considered "average use" for a Windows user.

            (Oh, and insult to injury, I've recently begun getting regular prompts to "Activate" my paid copy of Windows that I've already activated. Yet another nuisance of Microsoft's.)

          • Freak4Dell

            I've never used the Metro Store, so I wouldn't know about that. I'm betting Microsoft will fix it if people report it, though, just like Google and Apple do. You're absolutely right in saying that average users shouldn't have to deal with that.

            I definitely wasn't trying to imply that you're doing it wrong or anything. I was just saying that your scenario is not that of the average user, and that the idea that Windows is some bloated pig is long outdated.

            I just think that Chrome is not even remotely comparable to Windows at this point, and I think that's a big reason why it's so lean and mean. I know this is just anecdotal evidence (much like your Windows experience), but I've notice the regular Chrome browser get heavier over the years. Back when it first came out, it was fast, but it also lacked many of the features that Firefox had. Now that it has more features, it's gotten slower (than itself in the past, not slower than Firefox). This is just a fact of life with computer software...the more powerful the software gets, the heavier it gets.

        • SorrybutloveGoog

          I'm typing this on my chromebook. and well when you use chrome browser on Windows or OSX and its off, you have to wait, and possibly wait some more depending on how old your system is. My Samsung Chromebook is faster today than when I bought it 3 years ago, cuz Google keeps updating the software...freeeee. Nothing to install and no freaking anti-virus. I'm thinking with a high end like the Pixel, it will last for quite some time. My freaking Chromebook boots up so fast, wakes immediately. So I cannot install Photoshop, who cares. Not everyone needs to use it nor cares to use it. Games...I have a PS3 and would imagine the mainstream uses consoles as well. Honestly the only think I use my PC for is when I need to Odin my phone back to stock and even then theres mobile Odin. Just my thoughts.

          • Low IQ

            most people who criticize Chromebooks don't use them!, I can't tell you the countless times I had to demo my Chromebook to a Mac user! in almost every case the Chromebook came up on top, but I would still see the hesitation on their face? I guess cause we are creatures of habit and been to use to how laptops work?..Change is hard! LOL!

  • leo Finn

    As for gaming. It doesn't need to be able to run games just needs to have the graphics streamed too it. Onlive already has an android app. If they would actually stream new games and made a chromebook app there could be a real market for it.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      While I agree that streaming games could be a solid way to obviate the need for local gaming development, we're still a way's off from that being reliable on a portable device, I think.

    • StriderWhite

      Streaming games are bullshit!

  • alhinai

    Can I put windows in this ????? Does it have HDD?

    • Low IQ

      Yes if your a hacker, and no why would you???...I have Ubuntu running on my Arm Samsung Chromebook but I did it to say I did it but it was unnecessary for my needs, and the bloated OS sucks battery!, I got less than two hours doing mundane things live web browsing!! The Chrome OS does what it does well as it is still a baby in diapers and will mature into a serious OS for the Cloud. since October 2012 I have had so many things added and improved upon from Chromium updates! if it keeps going at that rate who knows what this Chrome OS will do?, I would love to be a Fly on the wall at the development engineering meetings at Google!! with so many technologies be had by Google such project "Glass".....

  • Tony Byatt
  • aiden9

    I'm really not sure what they're going for here. Originally the aim of Chromebooks was to make a laptop that was hooked into the cloud, mission accomplished. Then the ARM variants came out which was even better due to battery life and price. Now this comes out and I'm left wondering what its place is. Its far too powerful to be a cloud dependent computer yet the OS 99% geared towards the cloud.

  • springyman

    Quote: Here's what makes Chrome OS powerful. It can make use of NaCl, which is a sandboxed method of running native code inside a browser environment. In other words, while Chrome OS may be "just a browser", it's a browser that kicks ass, and can do a whole lot more than Firefox or IE can

    Just imagine if you also built the Davik Virtual Machine into Chrome as well :D

  • http://twitter.com/dbolot1 Dmitriy Bolotin

    Anyone having Google's $49/month 1TB account will definitely buy it, its pretty much like getting this thing for free plus some money back

    • getreal25

      Ya. Then you pay Google back the cost of the chromebook in two years through the cost of the $49/month 1TB account. Great deal!... Said no one ever.

      • Freak4Dell

        You get 3 years of the 1TB account for free with the purchase of the Pixel. If you were going to pay for the account anyway, this is a convoluted coupon. If you weren't going to pay for the account, this is a $1300 mistake.

      • LazarusDark

        Well, if they continue offering the deal in future Chromebooks, then you could just buy a new Chromebook in three years. Always on the latest hardware and always with a discounted TB of storage

  • Steve Green

    Chomeos has a CLI it is just Linux.

  • GazaIan

    I'm absolutely in love with the hardware. Honestly, I would buy this in an instant. As powerful as ChromeOS is, it's just not enough for me to justify a $1300 purchase. But, I like this direction this is headed. It shows me Google is serious about ChromeOS. I like it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ian-Ray/30902884 Ian Ray

    I would like to point out that most people buying a Pixel do not want Windows or OS X on this device. Google only made 200,000 of the these, they are not expected lines out the door of Best Buy. The Pixel is for people who want ChromeOS, not for people who will settle for ChromeOS.

    It has has been suggested ten thousand times in the stories about this device that "for about the same price, you could run Windows!" Whatever, sure. For about the same price as a new set of tires, we could buy an iPad. For about the same price as putting in a new shower enclosure, we could buy the latest version of Microsoft Office. For the same price as a crap (Ford/Chevy), we could buy a great (Chevy/Ford). We get it, you like what you already have and are jealous of anything you don't.

    As mentioned, the complimentary storage plan is worth $1,800, so if you have an immediate business use for Drive storage, this laptop essentially costs -$500. Comparably specced Ultrabooks all cost about the same amount and have no free terabyte storage plan.

    Also, how much free press do other companies get when they make a 200,000 unit experimental release of a product? When Acer released their 1080p touchscreen Ultrabook, did countless tech bloggers debate the value proposition? I don't even think they know about Acer's product to this day.

    • Freak4Dell

      While I understand your point, your analogies are terrible. Tires aren't comparable to iPads, and shower enclosures aren't comparable to MS Office. Chrome and Windows are compar...oh, wait...maybe your analogies were spot on.

  • Athishay

    Eric, I read an article on Engadget about how Google has killed the Android brand, and honestly, that made sense. Android market has become Google play, for starters. Play music, not Android music.
    But after reading this, maybe Google is working towards something like apple.. Their mobile devices run iOS, laptops and Macs run OS X but the common stores are just app store and iTunes.
    What if the chromebook Pixel is sort of a 'reference' platform, you know, like ''look at this, you puny humans, this is going to be the companion device for your phone'' and they kick out the chrome store and bring it under Play?

    The next nexus and I/O will definitely be two very interesting events. (Notice how I called the nexus an event?)

    I like the way Google is thinking.

    Now if only they gave us native Facebook contact sync.

    • John O’Connor

      I like where your thought process is going, but native facebook sync was removed from most android devices due to facebook getting a little zealous in what constituted syncing. I (and many many others) had all of my/our contact information pulled from my/our device(s) and dragged into facebooks servers without being asked or notified. It was not so much a synch as a blatant data rape. To add insult to injury, if someone altered their facebook information, such as remove phone numbers or email addresses or any myriad of changes due to individual privacy concerns, Facebook then altered the contact on the device with what was showing in their servers, regardless if it was on the device prior to FB Sync. Not many people noticed right away. Although when all of a sudden your grandmother/spouse/friend/coworker/significant other/colleague/child/etc is hacked and decides to close out and start a new FB with NO contact info associated with or added to Facebook..... and the FB decides to remove said contact information from your phone/tablet/device leaving you with nothing, it tends to piss off users.

      • Athishay

        Although I agree that Facebook kinda sorta maybe completely totally sucked in way more data than it was supposed to, its a killer feature.

        And isn't that the whole point of contact sync? Anytime your friends update their contact information, you have it on your phone! This is also why I'm still sticking with Sense and Touchwiz, they let me sync with Facebook.

        And as far as I've seen, on device contacts are not touched by Facebook. Only the contracts under the Facebook account are modified!

        I'm a huge fan of Holo, I just want my sync. Is that too much to ask for?

        • Athishay

          Correction: Contacts* under the Facebook account.

        • LazarusDark

          Google Plus is a quarter Billion and growing rapidly. Google could give a rats butt about Facebook and its walled garden. That's like saying Google should put iTunes on Android.

  • Joe

    In response to the quip about Google's parents:

    Microsoft is the awkward, embarrassing dad with a boring office job who tries too hard to be fun (and consistently fails), Apple is the trendy, overprotective mom who's always going out and running up her credit card debt, and Google is the creative yet rebellious teenager who just doesn't know when to quit. There you go.

    • John O’Connor

      And RIMM (nay Blackberry) is the insecure teenage daughter who keeps cutting herself to release the pain or look for attention? Touche /S ;-)

      • HopelesslyFaithful

        i was going to say the grandpa that lives in the past and can't change from its old ways to save itself. Grandpa thought its old design was still better and stuck with it for 3-5 too many years where he was too far gone to even be saved.

        • John O’Connor

          Probably a more pc (politically correct) analogy. But the grandpa could very well be nokia.... hopping on overworked dads bandwagon while despising the flippant daughter in law

    • Freak4Dell

      I assigned the same gender roles for MS and Apple, but I saw MS as the responsible hard-working dad (and you make a good point about trying too hard to be fun) who kept the whiny bitch of a woman, Apple, around just to avoid the fallout from the divorce.

  • Low IQ

    as with all new technology, the critics are never ending , especially if you can't see the future, as Google is also setting up fiber in many cities, it I imagine the future of possible any place you go will have an Internet connection, Humans are creatures of habit, but it's not to say that change can't happen? I think the next 5 years is an important measure for Google with Chrome, Chrome OS and especially the Chromebook! Google corp has tremendous resources in many future endeavors of which anyone on the Internet will greatly benefit from no matter if your using Windows, OSX, Linux or whatever..Baby Steps as in "What about Bob!" and that is what I see here as I am happily typing on my Arm Samsung Chromebook. This little 11.6" laptop is one of the Best investments I have made in a long time with minimal cost of $250.00!!
    and every time someone see's me use it at local coffee shop and mistakenly think it's a Mac Air, I go thru the Demo of how easily it works with anything Google usually faster than most high powered Laptops such as the MacBook Pro! in which I laugh all the way to my Bank savings! I love this little guy! it makes my work go so easily without having to worry about updates or backups or really any of the things I had to keep myself aware of.
    I see many of the critics making judgments based on old ways of thinking of what a laptop does or how it should do it?, and you can't as this is a different animal or fruit if you wish, with Apples and Oranges. If your a teenage Gamer then this might not fit your priorities, but if your like me who just needs a reliable way of doing work on the Internet using the Google apps products of email and documents then the Chromebook will win! My high Dollar $$ laptop now just sits at home as I get my work done, and if the Pixel is a stepping stone to better things then I am all for it, and just maybe it will make others take notice and make theirs better to compete, ITS A WIN! WIN! so the price although high, might not be??
    as all the dust has not settled or cleared to see how this Pixel is going to fit in the Marketplace.

  • Chris Caldwell

    so if the hardware is so great, but the os sucks, why not buy it and drop linux on? or do people still feel like a laptop is only good for the OS it comes with?

    • Freak4Dell

      That's certainly an option, and if I were to buy this thing, I would immediately replace the OS. The thing is, though, the hardware still isn't great enough to justify that price. There's other laptops that are equally good and cheaper, or ones that are priced the same and already come with the OS you want (okay, maybe not Linux). The SSD in the Pixel is pretty tiny, 4GB of RAM isn't all that much for a $1300 machine, and the screen, while being an awesome resolution, is a funky aspect ratio. I can get an ultrabook with better specs for the same price or even cheaper, so the Pixel still isn't appealing.

  • Freak4Dell

    I'll take a wait and see approach. I subscribe to the idea that a company should always fix their main thing first before bringing out products. Bringing out the fancy hardware before Chrome is useful as an OS is a bold move. It's like how Sprint got the iPhone before bothering to fix its network. I guess the difference here is that Google can actually afford to make mistakes, and they have a history of doing so and just shrugging them off. I think it's too early to see whether Chrome will take off as anything but a cheap limited OS, or if this will just be another project that nobody will remember in 2 years, but I'll keep an eye out for the progress.

    Is QuickOffice going to be any good on Chrome? I mean, Google Docs is a cute concept and all, but compared to Office, it sucks. I know somebody will throw me a downvote and brag about how they use Docs for anything and everything, but the truth is that Docs is not a good replacement for Office. Also, QuickOffice on Android isn't all that good, either.

    I'm glad Google is at least attempting to do something in laptops, though. I'm tired of hearing the BS theory about how laptops will disappear off the face of the planet in a few years. No they won't. Those people that claim that are stupid. When they finally decide to grow up and be an adult and have real work to do, they'll realize how stupid that claim is.

    On a side note, why do you think Google can't make Android phones without pissing other OEMs off? Other OEMs already take Android and fuck it up as they please anyway, and as long as Google keeps giving them Android for free, I really don't think they would care if Google made their own hardware. It seems like the reality is that Google is just not interested in making their own phones. Maybe it's because they don't think it would be profitable, or maybe it's because they get a kick out of picking a different OEM every year and making one device. I really don't think it's out of any concern for pissing them off, though. I hope Google does eventually start making their own phones.

  • nsnsmj

    As usual, great write-up. It was a really good read.

    I don't agree with everything you said, but for the most part, it was pretty spot on.

  • lean6

    It's not just planting a flag. I imagine Google will be doing what it does best with this Chromebook...collecting user information.

  • trumpet444

    "No flag, no country. Can't have one!"

  • John

    I would buy this laptop if it had a proper hard drive 1tb or so. here in Australia we have something called capped internet on set amounts google! looks beautiful though , and yes i'd rather have android friendly laptop then chrome os.

    They bringing android to TV, Tablets and phones yet stop there when it comes to laptops?

  • Eric Jones

    You don't know Chrome OS very well if you think that it only updates once a year. It has a roughly six week update cycle for stable channel, and much more frequently for beta and dev channel.

    These won't sell millions, but they will sell. One of the biggest complaints I've seen about chromebooks from chromebook users is that there wasn't a nicer version. If all you need is a chromebook, and you can afford one, why wouldn't you get a nicer one? Sure much of the web isn't this high resolution, but any of it that is can now be appreciated. Is the Pixel overkill? Maybe, I like to consider it future proofing for a little while.

    As someone that doesn't game much, and perfectly content playing games on a PS3 or Android, not being able to game on Chrome OS doesn't affect me. As I'm reading your website on a widescreen monitor, there is a significant amount of the screen going to waste. It's "offensive" that websites are wasting the majority of my screen real estate. If it's wasted, why bother? It comes with photo editing software, which should do cropping, resizing, red eye, and slight color adjustments, everything an amateur like myself needs. Couple that with a terabyte of Drive storage for 3 years? I can't wait to finally be able to justify the price of storing all of my family photos and videos in the cloud.

    Google could have released a chromebook that wasn't as good at this in the $600-$800 range, with much less of a screen, but what kind of a reference device would that be? It takes a ton of money to design a new device, especially one that's built from the ground up and doesn't reuse old parts for economy of scale. Why spend that amount of money on a middle of the ground chromebook? Better to make a big impression with the high end one, and then release a middle ground one later using reusing the parts and factories now available.

    I'm not trying to convince anyone to switch to Chrome OS, because it does have short comings. What's important to remember is that those short comings don't matter to everyone. My two door car has shortcomings to. It can't tow anything, much less a big boat. Guess how much I care not owning a boat?

    My chromebook Pixel should be here next week, and I can't wait!

    • Eric Jones

      Oh, and don't forget that these will be in the hands of developers come Google IO, and what that will inspire in pushing the web forward. This is the same thing as the Google Nexus, it's just in a more established corner of the market than mobile was/is.

  • Alex Murphy

    I agree that this is a play for the future - hence their tagline, "for what's next." However, this article SEVERLY underestimates the power of Chrome on OS X and Windows...I have a Mac Pro at home and basically use Chrome for 90% of my activities - it's only for Final Cut and the Adobe suite (and a Windows partition for games) that I use desktop software. However I have a Chromebook too and it's great.

    Another error is the author writes that Chrome OS is updated once a year...it's actually every six weeks, just like Chrome.

    I bet Adobe begins releasing web-based versions of their programs by 2014. Why not? They're already moving people to the subscription model and their "Creative Cloud." Partner with Google, integrate with Drive and use Native Client to bring Photoshop and such to Chrome OS.

  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    If Google provides a set of drivers and bake in easy dual boot options for Windows user, it will be the biggest humiliation towards Microsoft. This is the way to make a touch-based PC that costs around $1000! Granted, the Pixel costs quite a few more hundreds than the Surface Pro ...

  • primalxconvoy

    Google never really make fully finished products. Just take Android itself (2.2 was miles behind Apple and is only recently beginning to be usable), Gmail app (hard to save new email addys, can't create folders nor download/upload common file type attachments), maps (can't add my location easily and gps rarely works, plus address IT gives still aren't recognised by itself), image search (mobile has been broken for quite some time), etc. Coupled with the non existent customer support and it's easy to understand why Google fails at "products" but excels at (half baked) ideas.

  • boo

    Stop drinking so much coffee. Stop writing so much. I can manufacture a laptop through Compal, Foxconn, Flextronics, Sanmina SCI, or any other CM. I too can put 20 dollars worth of OS on 1250 dollars worth of hardware and not sell any. The only cool thing about the pixel is the 3:2 screen ratio which has been proven the most versatile screen to house everything from wide aspect the 4:3 at the best pixel density. This is not what the consumer wants, 16:9 or something stupidly wide is.

  • james braselton

    hi there yeah macbook air starts at $999 with 128 gb ssd pixel has 32 gb ssd there is a market for pixel how big i dont now yet

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