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Google eschews the wedge form factor for a more brick-like design

Most Chromebooks thus far have been rather underpowered hardware-wise, to say the least.  And sales have been modest at best.

But Google Inc. (GOOG) appears eager to push the boundaries of its PC operating system experiment, debuting its first in-house designed Chromebook.  Dubbed the "Pixel", the laptop/Chromebook/ultrathin packs an Intel Corp. (INTC) Core i5 processor and Intel HD 4000 graphics.  4GB of DDR3 memory is also onboard.

The star of the show is a gorgeous 2.85-inch, 2560 x 1700 touchscreen display.  Similar to the smaller Retina MacBook Pro (13.3-inch 2,560 x 1,600) from Apple, Inc. (AAPL), the laptop features a backlit keyboard and hidden speakers.

But Google's Pixel diverges with the Retina MacBook Pro in other ways.  There's a third microphone included, designed to cancel unwanted noise from the keyboard when making video calls.  And Google has gone to great lengths to optimized the touchpad's "feel" and the latching mechanism.
 Pixel Chromebook
While the laptops are similar in maximum thickness (the Google laptop is a hair thicker), they look dramatically different.

A Wi-Fi model of the Pixel ships next week.  It packs 32 GB of NAND flash, along with a 1 TB Google Drive subscription (3-year) and an SD slot for expansion.  The price is $1,299 USD.  In April Google will drop an LTE version, which packs 64 GB of NAND and the same SD/Google Drive perks.  That version will fetch $1,449 USD.


Google's app ecosystem is pretty week, but perhaps its shiny new hardware will attract new developer interest.  Google showed off a slick touch-friendly Google+ app with the launch materials.

Sources: Google [1], [2; via Engadget]





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