Google challenges Apple with new laptop
San Francisco, February 23, 2013
Google has unveiled a touchscreen notebook computer designed for high-end users, throwing down the gauntlet to Apple and its MacBooks.
Google said its Chromebook Pixel computers blending tablet and laptop technology, boasting heavyweight Intel chips and screens tailored for rich graphics, were released in the US and Britain, starting at $1,299.
"People will give up a MacBook Air for this," Google Chrome senior vice-president Sundar Pichai said.
A Pixel model featuring built-in connectivity to the Verizon mobile Internet service will hit the US market in April at a price of $1,449.
The newly unveiled version can connect online with wireless hot-spot technology or cables.
"It's a great looking product," Om Malik of technology news website GigaOM said at the Pixel debut in San Francisco.
"But Google is facing a selling problem, they have to compete on price originally and build a developer base for a high-end product."
Google is hoping enthusiasts will forego price comparisons with competitors such as MacBooks or laptops built on Windows 8 software and focus instead on the Pixel's touchscreen feature and the massive terabyte of Google Drive online data storage included.
While the Pixel seems aimed at the MacBook market, it also faces fierce competition from touchscreen laptops based on Windows 8 software.
Analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group branded the Pixel move "a train wreck," arguing that notebook computers above $600 have historically not sold well and that Apple even sells a slick MacBook Air model for $999.
The booming popularity of tablet computers is also eroding the overall market for laptops.
"It just boggles the mind," Enderle said. "I have no clue what the hell Google was thinking."
"This is for power users we expect to live completely in the cloud," Pichai said. "The Pixel is about pushing the state-of-the-art."
Google custom built Pixel and is producing it with the help of electronics manufacturers in Taiwan.
"It is clear that touch is here to stay and that it is the future," Pichai said.
He described the Pixel screen resolution as superior to that on any laptop shipped today.
Within three months, Google will release Quickoffice software for handling documents and spreadsheets after complaints by Chrome notebook users over difficulties when trying to work with Microsoft's widely used Word or Excel software, according to Pichai. – TradeArabia News Service