$1299 Chromebook? Google, You’re Not Apple!

Colour me poor and dumbfounded, this Pixelbook device makes no sense to me!

The other day Google announced its new (and only) Chromebook, the Pixelbook. It’s an ugly convertable ultra portable notebook that can be flipped around to be used as a tablet (in exactly the same manner as all the other similar devices that came before it). Honestly, hardware wise it is nothing special, again perhaps with the exception of it being ugly (colour, shape, and those rubbery hand pads… bleh!).

Google Pixel Specs:

  • 12.3″ 2400×1600 LCD
  • Intel i5 CPU (dual core, low power variant)
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB SSD
  • Aluminum Chassis (that folds)
  • ChromeOS

The hardware, the operating system, and the software do not justify the $1299 CAD price tag. Seriously, you can buy a MacBook Air from Apple for $50 less and it is a computer that comes with a full “desktop operating system” that is capable of running full Mac and Windows software. Heck, you can even run Android software on a Mac using an emulator if you really wanted to…

As I sit here typing this on my HP Chromebook 14 G4, which cost me around $350 CAD, I can’t think of a single use case where paying more than triple the cost is justifiable. I mean come on, the all aluminum, 4GB RAM/32GB SSD, 1080p IPS LCD rockin’ Acer Chromebook 14 was only $400 and the various other Chromebooks that convert to tablets are all $650 or less. As far as use cases go, there are so many things you can’t do with a Chromebook that there is very little you can do on a $650+ Chromebook that you can’t do on a used $125 Chromebook. And… that’s the magic of the Chromebook/ChromeOS concept!

The entire value of the Chromebook concept is that they cost less and do less, but they do enough to be genuinely useful at their lower price point.

The Pixelbook misses that mark by a country mile, for the following reasons:

1. The software doesn’t exist to justify the hardware specs, even when one includes the new Android app runtime for ChromeOS; You don’t need an i5, 128GB+ of storage, and 8GB RAM on a Chromebook, because it’s not going to be utilized in the standard use case for Chromebooks!

2. The hardware itself is over priced – other manufactures are selling the same stuff or better for less money. Amazingly, this even includes Apple, if you’re willing to forego the tablet functionality.

It seems to me that with the Pixelbook, and the Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XL phones, Google has decided that they are Apple and that they can charge far more for their products than what their worth, all the while throwing we poor folks under the bus. See, not only has Google created these expensive devices, they are also no longer listing Chromebooks and Android phones from other manufacturers on their web store, including the educational ones that are geared toward schools, average folks, and poor people.

That’s right, according to Google, if you can’t (or don’t want to) shell out at least $1,000 CAD for a Chromebook or an Android Phone (Pixel 2 start at $999 CAD) then you’re not worthy of their consideration. I find that change of direction quite disappointing and I would imagine that the various manufactures of Chromebooks and Android phones do as well. It really feels like a knife in the back to the millions of people around the world who made Android and ChromeOS successful in the first place.

I am all for Google selling their own products, but I also feel that they have a responsibility to represent the entire spectrum of consumers and manufacturers of Android and ChromeOS based devices; Google, unlike Apple, made partnerships with manufacturers and a value-oriented relationship with consumers that allowed them to get where they are today.

Google, stop pretending to be Apple. You were awesome just the way you were.


Note: Google does have an iniative called Android One in which they work with other manufactures to create inexpensive Android phones for developing nations. As of today, none of these devices are available in Canada (I guess our poor people aren’t poor enough to deserve help…). Thankfully several manufacturers took it upon themselves to make excellent and affordable devices for Canadians, such as Motorola, Samsung, Asus, Huawei, Acer, BLU, Alcatel, and Xiaomi.

It’s important to understand that our connected world is the result of the hard work and investment by thousands of companies around the world, not just the handful who get all the press…