Feb. 22: Google is stepping further into the laptop business, and moving way up the price scale.
The company introduced the Pixel yesterday, a new version of its Chromebook laptops that store everything online without desktop software. The latest version has a few major distinguishing factors. Google designed and manufactured the laptop itself, and it has a touch screen.
It is also much more expensive than previous Google Chromebooks. By contrast, the Chromebook that Google introduced last autumn cost cost $250, and was marketed as an inexpensive, extra device for the home. The Pixel, meanwhile, is for power users, said Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice-president for Chrome, at a news media event in a San Francisco design studio. Translation: Google is going directly after Apple and Microsoft to try to sell its own high-end devices.
The question is whether customers will buy a laptop at this price from an untested manufacturer, especially when it requires people to do all their computing in the cloud. There are a host of competitively priced computers on the market with similar and additional features.
“For people who have committed to the cloud and really want a good laptop, this is the best laptop from a hardware standpoint,” Pichai said. “Some of them buy Macs, some of them buy Windows 8 machines and we wanted to make sure you could see Chromebooks in that segment.”