Google Thursday launched the Chromebook Pixel, a new touchscreen-based version of its low-cost laptop based on the Google Chrome operating system.
The Pixel comes with very "un-Chromebook" price tag, starting at $1,299 for the Wi-Fi version and $1,449 for the LTE version, which represents a nearly $1,000 increase over current Chromebooks on the market.
But, the Pixel comes with more than just touchscreen capabilities; it boasts higher technical specifications than previous Chromebook models. The system's display has, according to Google, the highest pixel density, 239 pixels per inch, of any notebook display available today for a total of 4.3 million pixels, hence the Chromebook's new name.
In addition, the Pixel packs an Intel Core i5 processor and solid-state drive, plus a 720p webcam. The Pixel's chassis is made of anodized aluminum, and the laptop comes with 1 TB of free cloud storage for three years through Google Drive.
"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," Linus Upson, vice president of Engineering at Google, wrote on the Google Chrome blog Thursday.
Google said the Pixel runs the new version of Chrome optimized for touchscreen displays. The Pixel could be a sign that Google plans to move Chrome further upmarket toward the higher-end PC segment to compete with Apple and Windows-based Ultrabooks.
"Our goal is to continue to push the experience forward for everyone, working with the entire ecosystem to build the next generation of Chrome OS devices," Upson wrote. "We hope you enjoy what's next."
The Chromebook Pixel is now available for purchase on Google Play in the U.S. The Wi-Fi version will begin shipping next week, while the LTE version will ship in April.
PUBLISHED FEB. 21, 2013