If you have a Ferrari, but only dirt roads to drive it on, you don’t drive your Ferrari. This is the challenge for Google’s premium laptop the Chromebook Pixel announced today by Google via a blog post. By the laptop’s very nature, it’s reliant on an Internet infrastructure still missing investments or incentives to increase overall speed. This impacts how much you can rely on the cloud to truly replace your old hard drive for a server, and with most consumer Internet connections rounding out at 15 Mbps – a speed introduced with broadband over a decade ago – Pixel’s main challenge isn’t just Internet speed, it’s apps and price.
Clearly Google is going after Apple, but it may be too expensive ($1,299 for WiFi version) to just cater to typical consumers considering the MacBook Air’s baseline price at $999, and its lack of premium apps will make it hard to compete with MacBook Pro’s starting at $1,199. For someone like myself, living in Google’s world, to jump on board the Pixel bus (and I really want to), I need premium apps. I’d ditch my MacBook Pro today if I didn’t need an accurate display running Adobe Creative Suite or Final Cut Pro, but here we are.
So the challenge will be Google’s attempt to justify Pixel to pro users. The next step, is finding a way to get design and other premium apps in the Chrome Web Store while not losing value. Really the most important part about Pixel has nothing to do with the hardware, it’s the apps and how well they work – and it’s just not there yet. So it’s an enticing laptop. Sexy in every way. But if the Pixel wants to price like a premium laptop, it needs to have apps like one too. Until then, I’ll be standing by.