Thoughts On A Future Vision
Google has announced and made available a new Chromebook. What was once deemed a “cheap” computer system, albeit one that ran what is essentially a web browser, is now an expensive, high spec’d product. A beautiful one too.
The Chromebook Pixel, so-called due to it’s pixel dense display (2560×1700 in a 12.85″ size correlates to 239PPI), is a full aluminium and glass laptop. Not too dis-similar to the MacBook Air/Pro and the recent HP, Dell et al. laptops. Oh, and you can touch the screen, admittedly I haven’t used Chrome OS, but it is not really optimised for touch, for the moment anyway. Google claims the Pixel is built for what’s next.
The completely unassuming machine has very little on the exterior to denote that which lies within. The single label of any kind sits, light grey upon white, on the hinge and is hard to notice at first glance. There is what Google has dubbed the Lightbar on the outside of the display section. According to their website it is there ‘Just because it looks cool.’ Some refreshingly honest marketing from the Mountain View company. This bar has a Konami code easter egg. Geeks of the world unite.
Now we have to talk about who this is aimed at. At a somewhat high price of £1,049, the specification of which makes even the most hardened tech veteran wince slightly, it is not aimed at your average consumer. The other Chromebooks that are available right now weigh in at £229 for the Samsung Series 3; £199 for the Acer C7; £349 for a Samsung Series 5 and the US only, HP Pavilion 14 at roundly £200.
With this new device, reportedly a Compal built product but not associated with them at all, being between four and five times the price it is not secondary device material. Nor is it a primary device just yet, although it could be. So how does this slab of metal and glass fit in Google’s message. Well, I am of the belief that it’s primary function is to enable developers to have the cutting edge components to improve their web apps, create wonderful HiDPI web assets and also, it is Google’s message that it doesn’t just do cost price devices. Google also knows that early adopters will buy these things too, but this is a very targeted device for a very niche market. It just happens to be in the public eye because Google is currently riding high in the press.
Now, is a cut down OS that is little more than a WebKit browser worth this kind of money? To put it bluntly. Yes. A lot of consumers need nothing more than a computer capable of running office applications, a music player, Facebook browser and internet portal. The Chromebook will do all of those things, the £199 Acer C7 will too, just not with the flair of the Pixel. So if most users will need nothing more why are more people not going to be buying this latest one? Well, sadly they will see cheaper alternatives from Windows manufacturers and will be pushed by sales consultants in that direction because Chrome OS “isn’t as good”.
I’d love to own a Chromebook Pixel.
Secondly, this week more has been made known about Google Glass. At last year’s I/O, Google’s developer event, Sergey Brin came running on stage with a small camera upon his bonce. Excitedly we watched as many extreme sports were streamed to us live from an array of athletes wearing Glass headsets. It was cool, and oh so futuristic a vision. Then to the shock of many it was announced that developers could pay $1500 for an Explorer Edition. The units would be delivering to those select few in 2013.
Well, here we are in 2013 and these wonderful Glass devices will be available to consumers around the end of the year. Supposedly cheaper than the $1500 for the Explorers. Google are said to be in talks with prescription glasses manufacturers and have also designed a sunglasses attachment for the current pair.
The interface has seen a massive overhaul, somewhere along the lines of Google now. I think it’s safe to say that this is the direction that Google’s GUI language will be heading in the future. I’m impressed. You should be too. It’s a future we all deserve.