The Chromebook Pixel is indeed a reality. You can grab one on the Google Play store for $1300 right now.
It is a monster compared to the two Chromebooks that I have reviewed. It sports an Intel i5 processor, 4GB of ram, and a 32GB SSD as well as a touchscreen display. I haven’t tried it out yet but I’m sure that Google will contact me soon to test drive the device. Yeah right. Despite not trying it I have used Chromebook (or Chromium) on a Lenovo T420 with an i5 processor and 4GB of ram. No SSD but I was able to get a good idea of what the extra horsepower can do. I won’t lie, it is pretty great.
But is it necessary? This is a cloud-centric device. Extra stuff under the hood is great and I wouldn’t turn one down if Google wanted to send it to me but this isn’t the market that the Chromebook should be targeting. In fact, you would be better off and a bit better diversified if you purchased the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook for $475 from cdw.com and picking up an iPad for $499 from Apple. Total cost is $974 and you have two great devices that cover everything the Pixel does. The $326 that you save could be used on accessories, apps, or a technology donation to your favorite public school district.
The reason I like the Chromebook is that it is affordable, fast, and easy to use. The Chromebook Pixel takes one of these away. Perhaps Google is testing the waters to see if higher end users will be willing to pay the same cost for a touchscreen cloud-centric device that they would pay for a MacBook Air. If they do Apple is doomed. I doubt that will happen. There is so much more you can do on a MacBook Pro that you cannot do on a Chromebook. We have discussed this in our Technology Advisory Team meetings. I have made it clear that if I had a blank check we’d be handing out MacBooks to our students for 1:1 and not Chromebooks. The MacBook is a content consumption and creation device. The Chromebook is primarily a content consumption device.
Google would be better off to get Java working on the Chromebook out of the box than introducing a product that is out of the reach of educational institutions and anyone not completely in love with the Chromebook. With that said I’m off to buy my Pixel.