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Google Hardware

Google Wants Its New Pixelbook to Win the Laptop and Tablet Battle (fortune.com) 104

Google is once again trying to make a big splash with laptop computers, this time with its new Pixelbook. From a report: Google debuted its Pixelbook, a new laptop-tablet hybrid during its Pixel 2 event in San Francisco on Wednesday, a high-end version of its barebones Chromebook laptops that rely on Google's Chrome operating system (OS). Google hopes its new Pixelbook, which sells for $999 to $1,649, will give it a viable challenger to Apple's MacBooks and other premium laptops. With Google's low-end Chromebooks, the company supplies the OS while third-party companies like HP Inc. and Dell build the devices. But Chromebooks are bulky, short on processing power, have limited storage, and are incompatible with Google's new Pixelbook stylus pen for drawing digital images on touchscreens. Matt Vokoun, Google's director for Chromebooks, emphasized that his company is serious about the Pixelbook. Although Google previously sold both high-end laptops and tablets, they were mostly "demonstration-oriented," he said, meaning Google didn't produce many of them and that they were instead for showing to potential manufacturers to get them on board with the idea.
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Google Wants Its New Pixelbook to Win the Laptop and Tablet Battle

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  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @02:27PM (#55310463)
    If you want to win "the laptop and tablet battle" you are messing with the wrong end of the price spectrum.
    • by ctilsie242 ( 4841247 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @04:03PM (#55311251)

      This is a pretty expensive thin client. For a little bit more, I can buy a MacBook with 16 gigs of RAM, an i7, and 512 GB of SSD. It won't be a barnburner, but it definitely can do whatever tasks are needed when being remote. To boot, if I do not have Internet access, I'm still free to work offline without being tied to the cloud or running in a limited offline mode. I could buy a Surface laptop and at have similar functionality.

      For me, Chromebooks have their spot... as Citrix clients and thin clients for the VDI. $1000 for what is basically a dumb terminal? I'll pass.

      • This is a pretty expensive thin client. For a little bit more, I can buy a MacBook with 16 gigs of RAM, an i7, and 512 GB of SSD.

        Enjoy your soldered-in SSD and RAM. I'm not interested in the Chromebooks, either, but for that money I will rather buy an easily expandable laptop. And it won't be a barn-burner, either, but once that SSD craps out, I will be able to replace it or upgrade it.

        • It sucks, but everyone does that now, be it Apple, Dell, Lenovo, or Microsoft, when it comes to these types of laptops.

          Of course, I could get a larger one... but I've done trips with various sizes of laptops, from 12" MacBooks to 17" laptops that I could barely fit in my backpack that had multiple fans, multiple SATA bays, and such.

          For what I need, if I am on the road and all I am doing is checking E-mail, logging into work via Citrix, or similar... a 12" laptop is a lot less of an issue after a long trip t

          • You probably won't see this but anyway.... I have a couple of 12" Thinkpad X220 laptops. They have user-replaceable/expandable components.

        • This is a pretty expensive thin client. For a little bit more, I can buy a MacBook with 16 gigs of RAM, an i7, and 512 GB of SSD.

          Enjoy your soldered-in SSD and RAM. I'm not interested in the Chromebooks, either, but for that money I will rather buy an easily expandable laptop. And it won't be a barn-burner, either, but once that SSD craps out, I will be able to replace it or upgrade it.

          Agreed. 1992 called and they want their chromebooks and macbooks back. It was a hard fought battle with manufacturers before we started seeing expandable portable devices on the market. It's very frustrating when you see people just accepting this reversion to inferior solutions that some of us worked very hard to eliminate.

    • by u19925 ( 613350 )

      Hey, I am just copying Apple. Blame them for high price.

    • Which end do you speak of? 1000 bucks is medium+.

      It's the ideal price to target most people that still somewhat care about quality.

  • by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @02:27PM (#55310473)
    I don't want a tablet. I don't want a laptop that acts like a tablet. I don't want google spyware pre-installed. I don't want chromeOS.

    I do want a powerful and open laptop.

    So there is nothing to like about this product.
    • Maybe you shouldn't buy it then?
      For some folks it has some attractive features.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I love ChromeOS. No viruses, no ransomware, and boots very quickly and mine has about 8 hour battery life(8 hours of continuous use) and can be dropped without trouble. Now that it's 2 1/2 years old, the $149 I spent for it was a good investment! Not sure a $1,000 one would be a good investment. They mention their old high cost ones were for demonstrations to manufacturers, but no manufacturers came out with ones that high priced.

    • by sehlat ( 180760 )

      I don't want google spyware pre-installed.

      So you might go for Microsoft's instead? The Surface Pro 4 is in a similar price range.

      • I don't want google spyware pre-installed.

        So you might go for Microsoft's instead? The Surface Pro 4 is in a similar price range.

        :%s/google/$manufacturer/

    • if nothing else it represents competition to MS/Apple, and competition is always a good thing for consumers.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      It's not just a table, it comes with an attached keyboard that (appears to be) full size. But it doesn't seem to have usb ports. So I'll probably give it a miss, just like I have the other chromebooks.

      I'm rather strongly interested in a really portable computer...but this doesn't seem to be it. I'm just judging by their ad, of course.

      Someone else called it a dumb terminal. I think that's a bit overly harsh, but it doesn't seem to be a real computer, either.

    • I don't want a tablet and a laptop. I want one device that does both. I want it to be useful out of the box. I don't want a full desktop OS.

      There's a lot to like about this product.

    • It is quite easy to put Linux on a Chromebook. But I would not buy a 1000 US$ laptop for that, but rather the Acer Chromebook 14. It is an all-Aluminium case, with decent 14" full-HD screen. You can find it for around 330 US$.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @02:32PM (#55310515) Homepage Journal

    Google hopes its new Pixelbook, which sells for $999 to $1,649, will give it a viable challenger to Apple's MacBooks and other premium laptops.

    Apple's MacBooks and other premium laptops are OS-agnostic, OSX aside. You can run Windows or Linux on them without having to worry about hitting the wrong key at boot time and wiping out your installation. Google's value proposition is based on collecting data about you and advertising to you; are they going to let you escape their clutches, and install another operating system on the device without extreme hazard at every boot time?

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      Take it from someone who has run Windows on Macbooks from work since 2010 - don't do it. Apple intentionally cripples battery life and provides half-assed drivers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by swillden ( 191260 )

      Google hopes its new Pixelbook, which sells for $999 to $1,649, will give it a viable challenger to Apple's MacBooks and other premium laptops.

      Apple's MacBooks and other premium laptops are OS-agnostic, OSX aside. You can run Windows or Linux on them without having to worry about hitting the wrong key at boot time and wiping out your installation. Google's value proposition is based on collecting data about you and advertising to you; are they going to let you escape their clutches, and install another operating system on the device without extreme hazard at every boot time?

      Chromebooks have always had a "dev screw", a switch (originally a screw) that allows you to switch the device into "dev mode". In that mode, all verification of the bootloader and OS is disabled and you're free to install anything you want on it.

      Google engineering actually has a pretty strong cultural belief that it's important that users be able to fully "own" their devices. Google can't force that view on Android device makers, but actually has managed to force it on Chromebook makers. So you can be cer

      • Re: Well, no (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Look everybody, swillden is back to shill for his bosses again. Tell me more swillden, I'm all ears. Your pragmatic objectivity is what I come here for.

    • Google's value proposition is based on collecting data about you and advertising to you

      No, Google core business is that. The value proposition here is a device with a very premium price. They aren't selling a lossleader.

      And yes people have installed various flavours of Linux and even Windows on Chromebooks. You just enable the development mode via the official method provided by Google and you're free to do whatever you want.

      • And yes people have installed various flavours of Linux and even Windows on Chromebooks. You just enable the development mode via the official method provided by Google and you're free to do whatever you want.

        Except keep your installation if you accidentally hit the wrong key at boot time.

        Apparently Libreboot works on some Chromebooks, so there is a solution to the problem, but it's too complicated for an average user.

  • advertising company (Score:4, Interesting)

    by anthony_greer ( 2623521 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @02:36PM (#55310543)

    I would rather not get my hardware and OS from a company that generates over 90% of its income from advertisements.

    Apple and Windows/amd64 OEMa have their issues but they do at least, for the most part, treat teh person buying the device as the customer, not the person buying the spy data.

    • by emacsomancer ( 5107885 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @02:47PM (#55310643)
      At least with Windows 10, I don't think one can make that claim for Microsoft. Perhaps for Apple. So far.
    • by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @03:03PM (#55310747) Homepage

      I would rather not get my hardware and OS from a company that generates over 90% of its income from advertisements.

      Apple and Windows/amd64 OEMa have their issues but they do at least, for the most part, treat teh person buying the device as the customer, not the person buying the spy data.

      *sigh*, this trope is getting pretty dull. Why are you willing to trust *any* company? Do we actually have any evidence of Google acting badly with people's data? Should be some by now. I get that modern tech trends are worrying - but I can't bring myself to be any more scared of Google than Microsoft or Apple, especially since MS have turned into a data company now too.

      • Because Apple is betting the farm on their reputation as protectors of users privacy and SO FAR there has been no indication they have been lying.

        • I have to admit, with the direction that Microsoft and Google are going, that Apple is getting more and more attractive every day.

          I don't like Apple's user interfaces and have avoided them because of that, but there comes a point at which the UI isn't the most important thing anymore.

          • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @10:00PM (#55312853)

            I have to admit, with the direction that Microsoft and Google are going, that Apple is getting more and more attractive every day.

            Funny thing is (and I say this as a Mac user since 2003) - as Apple takes a privacy stance which appeals to the technologically literate, they simultaneously seem to be designing their laptops to be less useful to that same group.

            10-15 years ago, there seemed to be a big movement to Apple laptops by Unix sysadmin / programmer types. I believe that was part of the reason interest in Apple laptops started to take off among the young college crowd.

            Maybe they think laptops are dying as a business... but they sure seem to be squandering the technical fan base they once held.

        • Because Apple is betting the farm on their reputation as protectors of users privacy and SO FAR there has been no indication they have been lying.

          So has Google, which is why they are an advertising company rather than selling your data to any third party.

          In terms of who's privacy is best covered, so far Google is one of the few companies who haven't let personal information get out.

          Yahoo, breached. MS, breached. Most of the ISPs openly sell data rather than advertising access. Samsung, sell data. Apple, breached (and in quite a personal way too thanks to their shitty iCloud security).

      • Well, privacy is a fallacy, but I really do try to limit - as much as I am able - the amount of information that gets shared.

        But it's not easy. I don't log into my google account in my browser, so they don't know all of my searches. If I log into my Amazon account, I make sure to sign out when I am done. On my phone - they've pretty much got me.. but I limit what I do on there. And I turn off my location unless I need it, then I turn it off. I don't run Windows at home, but mainly because I prefer Linux

  • by presidenteloco ( 659168 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @02:42PM (#55310587)

    Just curious.

    Could one do software development and testing while offline, with one of these puppies? e.g. Can I have linux in a VM or use docker containers etc in chromeos?

    • Google can't spy on you if you are offline. Why do you think they created ChromeOS?
    • Just curious.

      Could one do software development and testing while offline, with one of these puppies? e.g. Can I have linux in a VM or use docker containers etc in chromeos?

      It's pretty straightforward. I haven't tried VMs though

      https://www.lifewire.com/insta... [lifewire.com]

  • by brennz ( 715237 )

    Spying on everything you can possibly do with this chromebook, because Google is in the business of marketing your personal information to advertisers. This will probably better enable them to link your credit card to your devices to your viewing preferences, to your buys, to your everything.

    Considering that Google is an anti-science SJW organization, I wouldn't be surprised if they disabled these devices for libertarians and right wingers.

    However, this isn't just a left or right thing. If there is an upc

    • Wow, this post is like a shitcrazy hamburger. The buns on either side are stale as fuck and the meat is this weird chimera of conspiracy and lack of awareness.

      3/10 would not eat again.
      • by brennz ( 715237 )
        Hello Google Apologist. [slashdot.org] Apparently you drank the Koolaid

        Please, if you are going to defend Googal at every turn, by all means, come out and admit you are a shareholder, a fanboi, or employed there. No doubt their tools are useful, but they are corrupting some signficant processes e.g. Democratic nominations and open conversations on policy.
        • Well, using your own particular logic that makes you a Bing fanboi, right? Oh wow, I see now why you view the world in such a manichean fashion, it feels so good!
    • Delusion much?

  • Google is definitely serious about this. At least for another 8 months, after which they will get bored of it and cancel the whole idea.
  • No shit, sherlock. Thanks for figuring that out for us. Pretty much every company that has made a product has such goals. In other news, water is still wet.
  • I have a 2015 MacBook Pro that I like quite a bit. I've always liked Mac keyboards (well... until post 2015), I like having a variety of ports, it runs Unix, it's nice and light and has superb battery life (> 10 hours for me).

    But that laptop is in the shop right now, and I'm using a late 2016 MacBook Pro... which I really don't like at all. The low-travel keyboard is sub-optimal, the touch bar is just stupid (having a virtual ESC key is asinine!), the lack of an SD card slot is an annoyance, etc.

    AND that

    • by jemmyw ( 624065 )
      It's not high sierra, I have the same issue with Sierra. And I don't know why its slower, because on a per task basis it is faster... it's just laggy when switching apps / windows / spaces.

      I really liked the new keyboard to begin with, but now I hate it. I like it for the extra clickyness, the old ones feel spongy by comparison. But it goes awry very often, the keys lose sensitivity, or change travel distance. I think its just too low profile.

      Touch bar - fun for a few minutes, then completely pointless. I n
  • by u19925 ( 613350 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @04:17PM (#55311343)

    I am getting Google privacy at Apple price point.

  • Google is facing a real uphill battle to get into a saturated market. I see no real benefit to buying Google hardware because you get tied to their platform. I could see a purchasing a dirt cheap, sub 200.00 laptop but not at those prices.
  • How long can warranties be extended?
    How long will particular models be available?
    How long is Google commiting to make parts available?
    How long will Google provide Tier-1 software updates?

    aside: Do the power connectors all break off like the Chromebooks?

    • How long can warranties be extended?
      How long will particular models be available?
      How long is Google commiting to make parts available?
      How long will Google provide Tier-1 software updates?

      There is one big advantage to this cloud thing (or so I suspect):
      All those questions you posted don't really matter. Device discontinued? Lost? Stolen?

      Your stuff is in the cloud. Get the next cheapo box/laptop you can lay your hands on, log in and continue to work where you left off.
      I'm trying this sort of workflow right no

  • So it's 16GB RAM, running an i5 or an i7 - and it can run Chrome, or a variation thereof.

    It can also run Android apps.

    All that for only $1000 - $1649?

  • Deep-pocketed mega-corporation, with close ties to the security services and a dysfunctional company culture, hasn't created a compelling new product since 2004 but hopes boring and overpriced laptop series will be the next big hit.

  • Likely laptop development has reached it's limit, they all look alike.
    But this does look like a SurfaceBook but without the very cool, carry friendly hinge that the latter has.

  • My daughters both have Chromebooks they use for school. They're roughly the same size as the MacBook Pro I carry for work, and about half the weight. Since when did that become "bulky"?

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