Chromebook Pixel
Chromebook Pixel

Google’s new flagship device is the Chromebook Pixel: a US$1,300 laptop with a Retina-like high-resolution touch screen and a 32GB SSD. It uses Google’s Chrome OS which means applications run in the browser, not as native apps. Two models are on sale in the US, one is Wi-Fi only, the other has 4G mobile networking.

The specification is quite a turnaround from earlier Chromebooks. Only last week I wrote about the unappetising cheap, low-end laptops sporting ordinary specifications. The Chromebook Pixel turns that description on its head. There’s enough power for demanding users thanks to a 1.8Ghz Intel Core i5, integrated graphics and 4GB of Ram.

Most of the extra money pays for the screen, which is a 12.85 inch display with a whopping 2560×1700 pixels – that’s more pixels per inch than Apple’s 13 inch MacBook Pro. It should much smoother, easier-to-read text and make graphics sharper – although users will only get the full access with specially updated web pages.

The other highlight is the touch screen, which paves the way for a ChromeOS tablet – that sounds more interesting to me than an Android tablet.

For now high density displays are still something of a freak-show. Google’s move suggests they will quickly become mainstream.

Google’s move is strategically interesting, the company is aiming for high-end users, not those worried about budgets. I suspect it’ll be taken seriously in corporate IT shops, especially those committed to the cloud and Google apps.