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Google Unveils Chromebook Pixel

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - It turns out that the rumors were true. Not only was Google (GOOG) working on a new touchscreen Chromebook, the tech giant has now announced it.

Introducing the Chromebook Pixel. Google calls it the Pixel because of its pixel-dense screen.

The first thing you need to know is that this is no bargain-basement design. The device has been created to compete with high-end laptops, as well as all those new tablets with add-on keyboards. The second thing is - this is not a cheap computer. And that might prove to be a problem for Google.

First things first. The Chromebook Pixel has a 12.9-inch touchscreen boasting a density of 239 pixels per square inch - for a total of 4.3 million - higher than any other laptop on the market today (2,560 by 1,700 to be exact). The touchpad is made of etched glass. The computer enclosure is made from an anodized aluminum alloy.

As for the other important specifications; the Pixel comes with an 1.8 GHz Intel (INTC) i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB or 64 GB of internal SSD storage, Bluetooth 3.0, a claimed 5 hours worth of battery life per charge and a whopping 1 TB of online storage in Google's Cloud.

Unlike the $199 Acer C7 or $249 Samsung Chromebook the luxury-level Pixel will be a lot more expensive. Think in terms of $1,299 for the Wi-fi model and $1,499 for the Wi-fi/Verizon (VZ) LTE version.

These cheap Chromebooks are selling very well at the moment. Samsung's offering has been number one on Amazon's (AMZN) laptop sales charts for weeks. And, in the UK., Chromebooks now account for 10% of all notebook computer sales at the number one retailer Curry's PC World.

But, $1,299 puts the Pixel in a different weight class - up against laptops, notebooks and tablets that can accomplish more running a full operating system like Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows or Apple's (AAPL) OS X. However interesting the Pixel looks at first glance (and it does) it will be interesting to see how it does against the established, full-featured competition.

The Wi-fi Chromebook Pixel will be available for purchase beginning next week. The LTE version will begin shipping (in the U.S.) in April. Select Best Buy (BBY) locations should have a Pixel or two for you to test drive very soon.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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