Google Takes On Apple Store With “The Google Store,” Starring The New Chromebook Pixel
Google has offered its own devices like Nexus phones and Chromebooks through Google Play for some time. But now the company has launched a new device-centric “The Google Store” for online purchases to replace that. It coincides with the release of a new Chromebook Pixel, Google’s second edition of its high-end Chromebook laptop. The Google […]
Google has offered its own devices like Nexus phones and Chromebooks through Google Play for some time. But now the company has launched a new device-centric “The Google Store” for online purchases to replace that. It coincides with the release of a new Chromebook Pixel, Google’s second edition of its high-end Chromebook laptop.
The Google Store features products made by Google ranging from the Nexus 6 phone, to the Nexus 9 tablet, to the TV-oriented products of Chromecast and Nexus Player, to Android Wear watches, the Nest line of home products and Google’s Chromebook notebooks.
The New Chromebook Pixel
Most Chromebooks are not actually made by Google, and only one non-Google Chromebook is listed in the new store, the Acer Chromebook 13. But the Chromebook Pixel, launched in February 2013, is all Google. It had an eye-watering $1300 price tag when launched, eye-watering when compared to regular Chromebooks that usually cost only a few hundred dollars.
Now, a new edition of the Chromebook is out, $999 for an i5 processor with 8GB RAM and 32GB of storage. For $1299, you can double the RAM and storage plus get an i7 processor.
Compared to the original Chromebook Pixel, the new one has a smaller screen (12.9″ vs. 11.7″), kept the same screen resolution of 2560×1700 at 239 PPI, lost a tiny bit of weight (3.35 lbs vs. 3.3 lbs), gained more promised battery life (5 hours vs. 12 hours) and the base model has a slightly more powerful i5 processor (1.8 Ghz vs. 2.2 Ghz).
Pixel Is Expensive; Regular Chromebooks Great Value
I’ve had a original Chromebook Pixel since it that first came out. It’s a nice notebook but nowhere near justifying the price Google charges. I’d say the same is true for the new Pixel. It’s a lot of money for a computer that’s effectively a large web browser. For what Google is charging, you could purchase one of the new MacBooks that Apple’s offering or a MacBook Air, both which would be more capable full-fledged computers and lighter. Heck, even Microsoft’s relatively expensive Surface Pro 3 is in the same price range but offers more.
Having said that, the Chromebook platform has come a long way since Google first launched Chromebooks for consumers in 2011. For many people with light computing needs, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
Chromebooks are known for typically long battery life, and there’s no hassling with big OS upgrades. They constantly upgrade themselves, just like the Chrome browser does. The platform has also grown with extensions that allow me to do things I wouldn’t — and couldn’t — do easily or at all in the past, such as screenshots and marking up photos.
Chromebook Pixel itself, to me, still feels like a product designed for the ultra-Chromebook enthusiast — and people at Google itself, who want a nice looking high-end machine. Interestingly, like the coming MacBook, it uses USB-C for charging. Unlike the MacBook, it has two of those ports, plus two regular USB ports and even an SD card slot, plus a touchscreen. But also unlike the new MacBook, it’s heavy at 3.3 lbs, versus the new MacBook’s 2.03lbs.
The Other Google Stores
Also today, Google launched an actual bricks-and-mortar Google store, The Google Shop, located within electronics retailer Currys PC World, in the UK.
As for the old “Devices” area of Google Play, that now redirects to the new Google Store. There’s even a dedicated help page about the change, in addition to the formal blog post from Google about the new store.
One other important change in all this: Google did have a little-known “Google Online Store” where the company sold a wide-range of Google-branded merchandise such as T-shirts, hats and USB drives. That still exists but is now called the Google Merchandise Store.