If you buy a Chromebook today, you can expect something small, light and fairly basic with a 1366x768 pixel screen or similar. Prices are comparable to the lowest end Windows laptops in the £200-£300 range. The Acer AC700-N572G02akk (11.6 inch) Chromebook would be a typical example.
Last week a video was leaked of the Chromebook Pixel - supposedly an all new high resolution Chrome OS laptop with a pixel-perfect 2560x1700 touchscreen display. Rumours come and rumours go, but more evidence has now come to light pointing to the veracity of this one.
Jan Willem Aldershoff has examined the open source Chromium OS code and seen references to a device codenamed ‘Link’. Link requires high dpi resource packs, so high that they significantly increase the OS footprint and may have to be removed for normal, non-Link devices. Other features being added such as 4G LTE and support for backlit keyboards also matches the leaked video.
The evidence indicates strongly that the Google Pixel is a genuine product and possibly a real game changer. A retina display, powerful Ivy Bridge CPU and cutting-edge wireless capabilities would make the Chromebook a competitor for Ultrabooks, rather than old netbooks.
Just what such a device would be used for, I am not completely sure. Chromebooks are effectively thin clients and as such do not need massive amounts of power. That said, a beautiful screen combined with long battery life could have its attractions for people who are often on the move and already make heavy use of Google apps. The question, as always, is the price. If the price point is low enough and the unusual OS is not too much of an inhibitor, the Pixel may just manage to capture part of the Ultrabook market.