Analyst: The Google ChromeBook Pixel’s success is measured not by sales, but by its image

by: Andrew GrushFebruary 27, 2013

Google ChromeBook Pixel

At $1,299 the Google ChromeBook Pixel is going to be a hard sell for some, but as analyst Deron Kershaw of Gap Intelligence points out, selling massive amounts of units isn’t the only measure of success.

Many consumers think of Chrome OS as a platform for “cheap” computers and not as a “full fledged” computing experience that could provide a replacement for a Windows, Mac OS X or Linux device. ChromeBook Pixel helps change this perception while creating a lot of positive buzz.

The lack of programs like Adobe Photoshop still means the platform isn’t for everyone, but for many consumers a secure, web-based platform is the perfect computing solution, even if they don’t realize it yet.

As Kershaw points out,  “In addition to drawing a line in the sand with Apple on touch, [Google is] trying to craft the sense that premium hardware and a web-centric OS aren’t incompatible with each other. And they don’t have to sell a lot of units to create that image.”

“Google knows that 99 percent of shoppers aren’t ready to drop $1,300 on a device with a limited, web-centric OS. But if the price makes you compare a Chromebook to a MacBook or Ultrabook, even for just a second, they’ve already succeeded,” concludes the analyst.

Bottom line, the ChromeBook Pixel opens the door for Google to market ChromeBooks to a wider audience, and is about the long-term big picture. What do you think of the Google ChromeBook Pixel, are you excited for the future of Chrome OS?

  • Ignacio Martín

    Nice points. That’s what I thought, a developer laptop to dissasociate ChromeOS from cheap netbooks. This means that Google sees ChromeOS as an important part of its future.

  • Pixels are meant for the enterprise. Organized like a military hierarchy: grunts, platoon leaders, field grade and flag ranks have their stuff. iPhones, iPad.minis, iPads, MacAirs, on up to war-rooms. For Google, whose Chrome Browsers operate on all of the above, a pure Google alternative now exists, Nexus phones for grunts, Nexus tablets or Chrome Books for platoon leaders, Chrome Pixels for field grade officers and multiple monitors plugged into Chrome Pixels for aides to flag officers.

    Three Tbit-years of cloud memory should help any field grade officer share his view of the real time situation with peers, subordinates and superiors as required in real time. Those extra pixels will help anyone conferencing read his demeanor for fear or falsehood.

    • QuanahHarjo

      “Those extra pixels will help anyone conferencing read his demeanor for fear or falsehood.”

      That had me laughing out loud :) *imagines the field grade officer smearing his Nexus’ camera with vaseline*

  • Bone

    Exactly. What reviews so far failed to point out is the incredible future-proof value of the Pixel, which of course it was created for, to show software developers that Chromebook is ready RIGHT NOW to handle whatever program they write.

  • Fievel

    It will be interesting to see if there is a spike in sales in the Samsung or Acer models because of the the introduction of the Pixel. Some people haven’t even heard of Chromebooks or haven’t even given them a serious thought, thinking of them only as netbooks. Will also be interesting to see if there are any new “budget” models announced any time soon with improved specs, especially any budget models under the Google brand name.

  • S_Deemer

    “…for many consumers a secure, web-based platform is the perfect computing solution, even if they don’t realize it yet.”

    If you spend most of your computer time on the web, and if you don’t know the first thing about proper maintenance of a full-fledged OS (which, together, cover most personal computer users), Chrome OS is a godsend.

    At this stage in its growth, the Chromebook community is oddly schizophrenic: on the one hand, there are people who know little about computers and just want to use the web, while on the other, techies and hackers who are fascinated by the concept, and intrigued by the idea of running Linux as well as Chrome OS on a Chromebook. The people with lots of experience (but little real understanding) of OS X and Windows probably have the greatest difficulty with the concept.

    It’s difficult to justify a Pixel on a rational basis, but the same can be said of a Porsche, Rolex, or $100 bottle of wine. I want one.

    • QuanahHarjo

      I really think they’re trying to build a college-proof OS. By building in Quickoffice, now students have a reliable offline system to type papers and notes into. Next I’m expecting to see Snapseed go native (wishful thinking perhaps, but somewhat logical).

      Also hoping to see more ARM-based Chromebooks in the future…maybe one from Asus.

      • Fievel

        Quickoffice is going to be a dream for college students looking to avoid Windows machines.

  • Joshhud

    Dont Google employees even make fun of Chrome OS? Weren’t there rumors of Android and Chrome OS merging?

  • joser116

    How many people use Photoshop anyways?

  • Dragonetti

    If you read around you will find out that people are working around the chrome OS and installing a other OS on the Google ChromeBook Pixel. See this article from Gigaom “3 alternatives to Chrome OS on Google’s Chromebook Pixel” here

  • I think that the technologies in the Pixel are an aggregation of technologies that Google is going to introduce on various Chromebook devices in different combinations. The Pixel is in effect a showcase for users, and a reference OEMS and developers of these technologies.

    There are also reasons for going high end, ultra high resolution, and touchscreen now even though these features won’t be essential to most people at the moment. Ultra high resolution screens and touchscreens haven’t really been a success for Windows 8 PCs/laptops, or Macbooks – yet. However they are a future technology that is looming and will become mainstream in due course. By putting out these technologies early, Google makes the interface and a development reference for these available early to OEMs and app developers to reference and test their apps and future Chrome devices against.

    The reason why Google is suddenly going i5 CPU now is because future Chromebooks won’t be just web browsers running HTML5 and Flash apps, but will run native C, C++, and C# apps also in the form of Portable Native Client Applications which will be released this summer. This means Chromebooks will be able to do anything and everything that Windows or Mac laptops can do, and a whole lot more – like sub 10 sec boot, instant pause/resume, Zero maintenance, Zero Touch Administration, transparent data backup of all data and settings to multiple geographic locations every 3 secs or so, for ease of mind and prevention of data loss, ease of use, the ability to access all data, apps, and user interface, settings etc. from any device running a Chrome browser etc. The move to the i5 CPU anticipates apps like high end 3D games, high end photo/video editing apps, high end CAD apps etc. which will start to appear soon.

    Unlike Microsoft, Google isn’t trying to push a “one size fits all” solution. They have Android and ChromeOS and a smorgasborg of different device types to put them in. For this reason, I think you will see the features seen on the Pixel come out in different combinations – Chromebooks with very high resolution non-touch screens, ARM Chromebooks like the current Samsung Series 3 but with ultra long battery life for general purpose and mobile use, Chromebooks/boxes with 1080p screens and i5/i7 CPUs for gaming, movie viewing, and home entertainment use. Tablet type Chromebooks with touch screens for OEMs to put on repurposed Windows RT devices (given that Windows RT like Windows netbooks aren’t selling).