Until now, Google’s Chromebook has targeted the basic, entry-level market, as well as the enterprise with their barebones offerings. But with the launch of the Chromebook Pixel, Google seems to have deviated from this philosophy, with the Pixel’s premium build and finish and attractive touchscreen display. Pixel may even be a signal that Chrome OS and Android might integrate in the future, in particular because of the touchscreen.
One thing’s for sure, though. Without an Internet connection, you will find yourself frustrated not being able to access your apps and data. Which is why a data-enabled version would only make sense for a premium device like the Chromebook Pixel. According to Google, early orders of the LTE-enabled model will start shipping by April 8th. This is limited to a U.S. release, though, and users will have to connect via Verizon’s LTE network.
The LTE-enabled Chromebook Pixel will set you back $1,449, so that will entail much justification with the wife, the boss, IT department or your own savings account. By comparison, the Wi-Fi-only variant costs $1,299, which is still a bit steep compared with other Chromebooks. Taking the comparison further, Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display now retails for $1,499.
If you’re coming from a regular notebook computer, it will require some adjustment, as Chrome OS runs off the cloud. But given that LTE capability is supposed to give you seamless access even without a Wi-Fi network, you should be okay, as long as you’re within Verizon’s LTE coverage area.
But — a big “but” for potential Chromebook Pixel buyers out there — this LTE connectivity comes with a limit. According to GigaOM, you only get 100MB free allocation per month for two years (which is easily consumed with fast connections). You can pay for data allocation in several options:
- $9.99 – an unlimited day pass
- $20 – 1 GB good for one month
- $35 – 3 GB good for one month
- $50 – 5 GB good for one month
Still, if you mostly connect via Wi-Fi anyway, pay-as-you-go LTE connectivity will be an added benefit for those times away from the home or office network or a public hotspot. Verizon says you can also add the Chromebook Pixel to an existing Verizon Share Everything Plan for $10 monthly, so you can simply use your existing plan’s data allocation. Sounds fair?