Google launches Chromebook Pixel with high-res touchscreen priced at $1,299

Google today announced its first-ever Chromebook with a touchscreen display. The Chromebook Pixel is a high-end $1,299 laptop that features a high-resolution 2560×1700 pixel 12.85-inch display with a pixel density of 239ppi. It runs on a third-gen Intel Core i5 processor with integrated Intel graphics, 4GB RAM, 32GB of SSD and 1TB of Google Drive space for three years.

The Chromebook Pixel would be the first Google-made laptop to be available for sale to users. Earlier Chromebooks were made by OEM partners, much like how it works with Android smartphones. That being the case, Google is naturally trumpeting its hardware design chops in words that would feel at home in an Apple marketing campaign.

The Pixel has been engineered with the highest quality components to ensure it’s comfortable to use all day long and meets the needs of demanding power users. The body of the Pixel is made from an anodized aluminum alloy to create a smooth and durable surface; vents are hidden, screws are invisible and the stereo speakers are seamlessly tucked away beneath the backlit keyboard. The touchpad is made from etched glass, analyzed and honed using a laser microscope to ensure precise navigation. The Pixel also has powerful, full-range speakers for crisp sound, a 720p webcam for clear video, and a total of three microphones designed to cancel out surrounding noise.

That said, why would anyone want to buy a $1,300 machine that only connects to the Internet? Add $200 more and one would get a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, which offers much more functionality. There was a reason why everyone took the first video leak of the Pixel earlier this month as a fan-made concept.

The Pixel could be Google’s version of doing a Surface tablet that would spur its OEM partners to come out with sexier Chromebooks that would bridge the gap between traditional PCs and a web-based Chrome OS device. However, for all it is worth, Chrome OS is still a couple of years ahead of its time. And Google knows that.

Instead, this could be Google’s ploy at reverse psychology. On one hand, everyone (including yours truly) disses the concept of a $1,300 Chromebook but at the same time we would put forth the argument as to why should we buy a $1,300 Chromebook when there is a $400 Chromebook available that does the same job. In other words, we are warming up to the idea of buying a Chromebook, albeit not the expensive one that Google itself is manufacturing.

Even if Google builds and manages to sell a few thousand units of the Pixel, it would be a small price to pay for all the press generated about Chromebooks and making users at least think, if not buy, a cheap Chromebook the next time they are out shopping for a laptop. And that’s exactly what Google wants to do with Chromebooks in the short term.

Do check out this very Apple-like promo video of the Chromebook Pixel, which could also be the closest you ever come to it.