Google had already achieved a measure of success with the Chromebook Pixel, according to an analyst at Gap Intelligence.
"[It's] a fantastic ploy to get people to think about Chrome differently," said Deron Kershaw, an analyst Gap Intelligence who follows retail sales of laptops.
The Pixel is now being sold by Best Buy at a starting price of $1,299.
Kershaw continued. "In addition to drawing a line in the sand with Apple on touch, they're 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," he said.
And that's a fine line sometimes. For example, the Pixel has a 12.85-inch 2,560x1,700 resolution display, which just edges out the 13.3 Retina MacBook Pro's pixel density of 2,560x1,600.
Both are under 0.8-inches thick, are made from anodized aluminum, and powered by Intel's Ivy Bridge processor.
"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," he said.
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