Why Google Created the Chromebook Pixel

The Chromebook Pixel is the best Chrome experience in the world. Google released the laptop in late February of 2013, and started shipping in early April. It is completely manufactured and sold by Google, and the official website is the only place to buy it.


The Chromebook Pixel is not just your everyday laptop. It’s got a touchscreen, a 3:2 screen aspect ratio compared to the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, and the highest density screen on any laptop ever, with a pixel density of 239 pixels per square inch, compared to the Macbook Pro Retina, which has the pixel density of 227 pixels per square inch. It also has everything you’d expect on a modern laptop, like 2 USB 2.0 ports, a mini-HDMI port, a headphone jack, and an SD card reader. With 4GB of RAM and an Intel Dual Core i5 processor, the processing and power of this machine is not too shabby.

Extra features the Pixel has is a cool LED lightbar on the back that Google has added “just because it looks cool”. On the more expensive model ($1449), it comes with 64 GB of storage and LTE, with 100MB free data from Verizon (woohoo?), and both models come with 12 GoGoInFlight Wi-Fi sessions, and 1TB (yes, terrabyte, 1000 GB) of cloud storage on Google Drive for 3 years. This is all included in the purchase.


What makes the device so interesting is that it is a Chromebook, and it runs the Chrome Operating System. It does not run Windows, it does not run Mac OS, it runs Chrome OS. What can Chrome OS do, you ask. Well, it can… run Google Chrome!

Wait what?

Chrome OS is Chrome. It can run Chrome Apps, browse websites, and, well, do anything else that Chrome can do. So why on earth would Google release such a limited laptop for the hefty price of $1,299? Why would Google put time, effort, money and resources into building a really expensive internet browser?

Well, I’ll tell you why.

Google never meant for this laptop to be a popular consumer device. Google didn’t and doesn’t expect the Pixel to sell well. Perhaps more than anything, the Pixel is a statement from Google, a statement declaring that computing is moving to the web, and hardware should go along with it. An immersive, dynamic web experience is only achievable when the web does everything you need it to do. And on this computer, everything is the web. From word processing (Google Drive) to photo editing (Google+, others) to video-chatting (Google+) to gaming (Chrome Web Store), to Music (Google Music), to managing your calendar (Google Calendar), it is obvious that Google expects wants you to do everything and anything on the web. After all, Google is an internet company and can only benefit from increased web use. The best possible experience one can have with Google’s products is arguably with Chrome, and more specifically, on the Chrome Pixel.

Google released the Pixel because it was outlining its ultimate goal in computing: the cloud. They want you, the user, completely reliant on the cloud, the web, and doing it using Google’s products, partly because it is the future, but partly because they want your money.


I will be writing a full review of the Chromebook Pixel in the near future, where I will mention why I installed Linux (Ubuntu 13.04) on the Pixel to do “real” work.