Google laptop shows Apple a thing or two

Google's Chromebook Pixel has two killer features that MacBooks don't. Maybe it's time for Apple to rethink the MacBook concept.

The 3.3-pound Google Chromebook Pixel sports a 12.85-inch, 2,560x1,700-pixel display and an Intel Core i5 processor.
The 3.3-pound Google Chromebook Pixel sports a 12.85-inch, 2,560x1,700-pixel display and an Intel Core i5 processor. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Thank you, Google. For obsoleting my MacBook.

Question: What two killer hardware features are missing on MacBooks? My answer: a touch screen and 4G.

What a coincidence. Just what Google is offering on the Chromebook Pixel. And in a package that comes close to matching the MacBook's aesthetics.

Not everyone may agree with that. Take the laptop flat-earthers. They will say touch is stupid (or "pointless" as one columnist said) on a laptop. Yeah right, just like the mouse was a stupid idea.

Then there's Apple's your-arm-wants-to-fall-off on vertical touch surfaces excuse. That will eventually give way to a touch-screen MacBook of some sort. You heard it here first.

The point is, Google knows (they're not stupid) that touch is important on a laptop. As does Microsoft (Windows 8 and Surface). That leaves Apple in Luddite land.

4G: And some might say that a Chromebook needs 4G more than a MacBook because the Chromebook is so immersed in the cloud. Hmm, my MacBook spends lots of time in the cloud too. And the last time I used it on the road, I was constantly hauling out my Verizon MiFi or running down my iPhone's battery with the Personal Hotspot. Come on, LTE belongs in a laptop.

And the operating system? I believe that cool hardware is the first step in luring consumers to a new operating environment.

While Chrome OS is still a work in progress (and lacks key features that many users need), with the success of Android, I do think it's possible that an improved Chrome OS combined with a second-generation Chromebook Pixel could reel in more consumers.

Google certainly has my attention.

Google Chromebook Pixel.
Google Chromebook Pixel. CNET
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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