It was a defining moment for Chromebooks in 2013 when Google unveiled the Chromebook Pixel. Finally, the underdog of the computing world was going somewhere. I mean, Google wouldn’t have put that much effort into a device if there weren’t big plans in place for its future, right? Sure, it was missing a few things like good battery life, and Chrome OS was still pretty lackluster as an operating system, but otherwise the Chromebook Pixel was a much-needed addition to the Chromebook line-up. Having something premium to offer, especially from Google, solidified that Chrome OS was here to stay.
However, Google products and services have a tendency to… come and go, sometimes without much rhyme, reason, or warning. It was entirely possible for the Chromebook Pixel to have been a one time thing. Fortunately, 2 years later Google revealed a second generation Pixel, this time with much better battery life and a slightly improved operating system. Between the continuation of the Chromebook Pixel line and later the knowledge that many Chromebooks would support Android applications, confidence in the future of Chrome OS soared.
It’s been two years since the last Chromebook Pixel was unveiled. Recently, Android Police reported that sources claim a new Chromebook Pixel is on the horizon, perhaps set to release sometime in Q3 of this year. As a fan of Chromebooks, this news piqued my interest right away. But as interested as I was, I couldn’t help but realize that competition for the premium Chromebook Pixel is stiffer than it has ever been.
The thing about the Chromebook Pixel is that while it looks slick and performs exceptionally well, Chrome OS is still extremely limited in comparison to a PC or a Mac. Even though the newest Chromebook has the ability to run Android apps (and can be assumed that a new Pixel would also have this ability) it’s still falls short of what one could hope to accomplish from a machine that may very well cost around $1,000, just as the 2015 Chromebook Pixel did.
However, it’s also important to note that as expensive as the 2015 Chromebook Pixel cost, the 2013 variant had cost even more - $1,299. Since the second generation experienced a significant price drop along with better specs, can we expect the same from the third generation?
Here's to hoping, at least.
$999 might not have sounded too bad a couple of years ago, but today it seems a little crazy when you consider the competition. A new Surface Pro starts at $799; the Surface Laptop costs $999; a refurbished MacBook Pro, depending on where you shop, can cost as low as $999; even the Surface Book, which starts at $1,200, has been knocked down to $999 at various retailers a time or two, and these are all computers with full-fledged operating systems that can, quite frankly, get a lot more done for the money. A new Chromebook Pixel has been all but confirmed to operate on Chrome OS rather than the rumored Andromeda operating system, and Chrome OS simply can’t do as much as Windows or Mac OS, no matter how brilliant the hardware specs might be.
Really, the only thing standing between a new Chromebook Pixel and success is the price tag. Although I expect something pricey, I don’t know if it can feasibly compete near the $1,000 mark. Not that it ever really could, but less so now, especially with devices like Samsung’s Chromebook Pro – a direct competitor using the same operating system – costing $549. Even that’s on the high end in the realm of Chromebooks, but I would still consider it reasonably priced considering its premium build quality and operating system.
I love Chromebooks. People have a hard time taking them seriously because they are limited, but I still argue that most people would be surprised to find how much they can accomplish with a Chromebook. I was surprised to find out how much I can get done, and although I still need a computer running Windows or Mac for some things, I absolutely prefer a cheap, light Chromebook with its superb battery life for basic web-based tasks like emails, social media, Google docs, catching up on the news, and binge-watching Netflix. As much as I adore Chromebooks, however, I do realize that it’s still limited. Even Android apps can’t make up for some things that are missing on the platform, which is why I hope the next Chromebook Pixel continues on that downward trend in price if it’s released sometime in 2017. Chrome OS just isn’t worth $1,000 yet, even if its hardware might look like it is.