SAN FRANCISCO—After a year of hibernation, Google’s flagship Chromebook charity is back. At the company’s hardware eventuality in San Francisco Wednesday, Google announced the “Google Pixelbook,” representing a new era of Chrome OS devices.
The Pixelbook is full of “firsts” for a Chrome OS laptop. It’s the first Chromebook with a seventh-gen Intel Kaby Lake processor. It’s the first Chromebook with the Google Assistant built in, in the form of a hardware symbol and an “OK Google” hotword when the screen is incited on. And the Pixelbook is the first Chromebook with a pen: an optional $99 Active Electrostatic (AES) stylus called a “Pixelbook Pen.”
Like the Chromebook Pixels, this is a reward Chromebook with a reward cost tag: the Pixelbook starts at $999. That income gets you a 12.3-inch 2400×1600 3:2 display, with an Intel Kaby Lake Core i5, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a backlit keyboard. You can upgrade to a 256GB SSD for $1,199, or you can burst up to a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB NVMe SSD config for $1,699.
All of these inclination sport outrageously high storage tiers for Chromebooks, which mostly ship with just 16GB of storage. Chrome OS is still mostly a browser-only OS that stores all on the Internet, so you don’t really need a lot of storage. Sure, you can run Android apps now, but the Pixelbook starts at the highest available Android phone storage tier, 128GB, and then doubles and quadruples that volume as you pierce up the pricing tiers. Is this much storage on a Chromebook a sum waste, or does it indicate that Google expects Chrome OS to grow into more of a storage user somehow?
The Pixelbook follows the same pattern motifs as in a Pixel phone, with a steel physique and a top potion territory in a resisting color. At 10.3 mm (0.4 in) thick and with a weight of 1.1 kg (2.42 lbs), Google says it’s the thinnest and lightest laptop it has ever made. The hinge folds all the way around, permitting the Pixelbook to work in “laptop,” “tent,” and “tablet” modes. The 12.3-inch Pixelbook is over 60 percent heavier than the already-massive 12.9-inch iPad Pro, so start bulking up now if you devise on using the inscription mode.
Pixelbook Pen is in the same area of functionality as the Apple Pencil or Microsoft Surface pen. The $99 AES stylus has 60 degrees of bony dimensions and 2,000 levels of vigour sensitivity. Google says it used appurtenance training to cut the sketch latency down to just 10ms and to build a scratch recognition complement that turns your scribbles into type.
Certain apps, like Google Keep, are allowed on the lockscreen now, so you can spin on the device, whip out the pen, and immediately start holding notes. Both the Android and Chrome OS app frameworks have pen support, but as this is the first AES stylus on possibly platform, correct support in an app is going to be tough to come by.
There’s no tough specs on the battery yet, but Google is earnest “up to 10 hours” on a singular charge. The enclosed horse has a fast-charge feature, too, so 15 mins of charging gets you up to two hours of usage.
Despite source code commits that settled fingerprint reader support was coming to Chrome OS, the Pixelbook is not versed with any kind of biometric authentication. With Windows focusing on camera-based biometrics and MacBooks shipping with a fingerprint reader, Chrome OS is the only major laptop OS but any kind of biometrics.
The Pixelbook is up for preorder currently and will be sole at the Google Store, Best Buy, and “other major retailers” in the US, Canada, and the UK. Preorders start today, and it will be accessible in stores on October 31.