Google today announced the much-talked-about Chromebook Pixel, the first Chrome OS notebook to be designed by Google from the ground up. We had reported a few days ago that a Google touchscreen Chromebook was on the way, but we didn’t expect it to arrive so quickly.

The Pixel goes on sale from today for a stratospheric price of $1,299 (Approx Rs 65,000) for the Wi-Fi-only variant and $1,449 ((Approx Rs 75,000)) for the LTE-ready model. That puts it directly in competition with some of the most premium Ultrabooks as well as Apple’s Macbook offerings.

The Chromebook Pixel has a 12.85-inch display with a 2560 x 1700 resolution

The Chromebook Pixel has a 12.85-inch display with a 2560 x 1700 resolution

The biggest feature of the Chromebook pixel is the display. Like Apple's Retina-class notebooks, this one is protected by Gorilla Glass, but Google has managed to one-up the Retina Macbook Pro with a 12.85-inch, 2560 x 1700 touchscreen panel with a 3:2 aspect ratio. This, Google claims, is the highest resolution display that's ever shipped on a laptop. “You'll never ever see another pixel in your life,” The Verge cited Chrome VP Sundar Pichai as saying.

The Pixel is only slightly thicker than the MacBook Air, but the rounded edges won’t cut into your wrists like they are wont to on Apple's notebook. There is also a dedicated microphone to cancel out keyboard noise during VoIP calls, and video chats should be clear thanks to the 720p webcam up top.

Then there's an etched glass touchpad, which Google says it came up with by experimenting “with different surface textures under a microscope” before finalising the fine texture. The touchscreen layer on the screen is Google’s trump card. The company touts its smoothness and fluidity when swiping through webpages or pinch-zooming on Google Maps.

Google is obviously trying to attract developers to port Android and iOS apps to its web-based OS. The company showed off some new apps for the Chrome OS and gave a preview of some of the upcoming features. It also demoed a new Google+ app that allows users to upload photos straight from the SD card to Google Drive.

Other specs have also been improved over the Chromebooks already available in the market. There’s an Intel Core i5 dual-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz, along with Intel HD 4000 graphics and 4GB of RAM. That puts it on par with most Windows-based Ultrabooks in the market. Google says the processing power is enough to play multiple 1080p videos simultaneously.

The Chromebook Pixel has a hefty price tag

The Chromebook Pixel has a hefty price tag

However, the high-res screen and the CPU power do have an adverse effect on the battery life. Google is quoting a five-hour battery life, which is possibly how long it runs under very ideal circumstances.

Chromebooks have never been known for their selection of ports, but two USB 2.0 jacks, a Mini DisplayPort, a 3.5mm headset jack and an SD card slot should cover most bases. Surprisingly, the Pixel lacks an HDMI port, which is a pretty standard offering with most Ultrabooks and notebooks these days. Both versions of the Pixel come with dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and invisible speakers under the backlit keyboard.

The Wi-Fi model, which is up for sale from today, will come with 32GB of internal storage. The LTE model, on the other hand, will have double the storage but will only start shipping in April. As a bonus, Google's throwing in 1TB of Google Drive storage for three years.

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