Seventh in a series. When I reported the original iPhone launch in June 2007, there was sense of history among the people waiting to buy. Several shared similar sentiment: That we would all look back in five or 10 years and see the mobile as a defining moment in computing. They were absolutely right. I feel similarly about Chromebook Pixel, not that as many people appreciate what it represents compared to the larger number of folks rushing to purchase Apple's smartphone.
Google's computer is an acquired taste, and so delish you don't easily go back. But there's a Vegemite quality. Most people wouldn't eat the spread, but ask those who do -- they can't live without it. Likewise, Chromebook Pixel isn't for everyone, but is for me and possibly could be for you, if given a chance.
I/O starts two weeks from today, and Google wastes no time whetting developer interests. Yesterday, the search and information giant revealed new Google+ Sign-In benefits. Today there are changes regarding "packaged apps". Surely the big stuff will wait for the keynote, which takes place on a single day this year, but expect more like last two days beforehand.
"Starting today Chrome packaged apps will be available in the Chrome Web Store for anyone on Chrome's developer channel on Windows and Chrome OS", Amanda Bishop, Google product manager, says. "You will notice that the App category now contains only the new Chrome packaged apps. A new category, called Websites, contains all existing hosted apps and legacy packaged apps". She tempts me to change Chrome channels, but I'll wait. And you?
Google may be a company of many personalities -- browser and operating system developer, connected-device manufacturer, fiber-optic Internet servicer, search giant and social network, among many others. But the core business is still about one thing: Advertising, as calendar first quarter results, delivered today after the closing bell, show.
Revenue rose 31 percent to $$13.97 billion, year over year; operating income, excluding Traffic Acquisition Costs, was $3.48 billion, up from $3.39 billion. Net income climbed to 3.35 billion up from $2.89 billion. That's $9.94 earnings per share, including costs associated with discontinued operations.
Yesterday, Google posted a public notice that "folks who ordered the Chromebook Pixel LTE from Google Play will start receiving them as early as Friday, April 12th". If that's you, I'd like to hear about it.
Jay Munsterman got his LTE model a day early and "it is sweet! For anyone else that prefers a Dvorak or non-qwerty keyboard: the keys pry off and reattach easily. And if you have both an ARM Chromebook and a Pixel you do end up with 1.1TB of Drive space". So much for today then. The Pixel comes with 1TB free Google Drive storage for three years.
Back in March, which was not so long ago, we learned that the Android feature that is all the rage would likely come to Chrome the browser and operating system. François Beaufort uncovered code that seemed to confirm the coming inclusion of Google Now, as Beaufort seems to uncover everything -- to the point where the search ginat recently threw up its proverbial hands in frustration and finally hired the man.
That day has arrived...in a manner of speaking. The latest build of Chrome Canary, the developer channel version of the browser, has hit the streets and version 28 comes with the initial framework for Now integration.
Now that's a question I never expected to ask on Easter morning. But instead of waking up to egg hunts, I'm haunted by Brian Fagioli's Google+ Chromebook Community post overnight. He stirs up the hornets nest today.
"Using Chrome OS is a lot like prisoners in jail making alcohol in the toilet", he writes. "Even when you are limited, you will find a way. While it is fun to find a way to do things despite the limitations of Chrome OS, the question remains: why do we choose to put ourselves in jail?"
Eight days ago, Google dropped an atomic bomb on the Android Army, with Andy Rubin's sudden departure as commander-in-chief. Sundar Pichai, who is responsible for Chrome and Apps, assumed Android leadership. The change led to much speculation that the operating system would sometime soon merge with Chrome OS. As the fallout spreads, an answer arrives: The question is irrelevant.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt tells reporters in India that Android and Chrome OS will not merge but converge, says Reuter's Devidutta Tripathy. But there's no quote, just paraphrase, which worries me about context. Fortunately, there is a video that provides context and reveals a different priority: Chrome.
Early this morning, Google announced a massive expansion of Chromebook distribution, including new countries and more Best Buys in the United States.
"Starting Tuesday, the Acer, HP and Samsung Chromebooks will begin rolling out in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands", Caesar Sengupta, Google product management director, says. "To help improve computing for organizations, we’re rolling out Chromebooks to businesses and schools in these same countries as well".
I sometimes wonder if Larry Page is a neatness freak. After all, throwing out stuff defines his nearly two years back as chief executive. He has chucked more Google products than junk I discard from our apartment -- there's no hording around here. Nor at Google. But the last 24 hours is simply unprecedented for changes that broadly affect customers and partners. This Spring cleaning is something to behold.
Let's start with today. Jeff Huber is out as head of Google Mapping and Commerce. He explains: "Finishing up my first decade at Google, and excited to return to my startup roots and begin the next one at Google X! Let me know what you'd like to see Google X do next". The Wall Street Journal says there's more: Google Maps will split from Commerce and become part of Search and the other folds into Advertising.
This afternoon, in a rather shocking and unexpected move, father of Android Andy Rubin stepped down -- or was forced to -- in a leadership change sure to shift the direction of Google platform development. Sundar Pichai, senior vice president for Chrome and Apps, assumes responsibilities for Android.
Larry Page broke the news, offering praise alongside Google cofounder Sergey Brin for Rubin's enormous contribution. The follow memo follows.
"Holy crap!" That was my response to colleague Alan Buckingham, when he informed me that Andy Rubin would no longer lead Android development. He's the father of Android! But green robot parent no more. The news is simply shocking and hints of some back-room drama and possible disagreement about future Google platform development. I say that because Sundar Pichai, the man behind Chrome OS, adds Android to his responsibilities.
For some time, Android and Chrome OS users -- me among them -- have posed quandary: "Why support two operating systems?" Google should bring together Android and Chrome OS. I wouldn't be surprised if that is the go-forward edict from Google on High, perhaps something Rubin wouldn't support. Yes, I speculate, but the man is passionate about his child, which Google acquired in 2005.
I wasn't going to write this as a separate story, resorting to Google+ and Twitter posts instead. But, hey, I'm Mr. Chromebook over here and would be remiss not informing the two people who somehow missed the news (You know who you are). Drum roll. Finally, four months after Samsung released the Arm Chromebook, you have Netflix. Stream it, baby, because you finally can.
"Today we launched HTML5 video playback for streaming content from Netflix for the ARM-based Samsung Chromebook, so you can now enjoy your favorite Netflix shows & movies", according to Google. There's not lots of fanfare in the statement, but I expect some from those of you who can finally couch-potato before your Chrome OS toy.
Second in a series. Fourteen days using Google's first computer, my decision is made: I would buy one and will someday (taxes are brutal, so my options are limited short-term). I firmly believe that most buyers willing to spend $1,299 (32GB WiFi) or $1,449 (64GB 4G LTE) will be satisfied with Chromebook Pixel. That's because I presume they wouldn't dole out that much without really examining how the computer would fit their lifestyle; also, Google seeks the same people coming from Windows who might buy MacBook Pro 13-inch.
Seven days ago, in my first-impressions review, I looked at the overall experience and price benefits from the perspective of hardware. Here, I start to answer larger question: Can Pixel be your main and only machine? For most people, the answer is an unequivocal "No". But "most people" isn't Google's target market.
On February 21, Google started selling its first computer, Chromebook Pixel, which I called a "status symbol" over the weekend. In typical fashion I asked "Will you buy Google Chromebook Pixel?" There surely is a market for the laptop somewhere, but not among the respondents to our poll.
Seventy-seven percent of you answer "No". That's among the highest percentage ever to one of my polls. If there's Chromebook Pixel enthusiasm, it surely isn't from BetaNews readers. Just 8 percent of respondents will buy the Chrome OS laptop "as soon as available in my country". Only 16.5 percent plan to buy Chromebook Pixel ever. So has Google got a flop? No way, Jose.
Google's first computer isn't about sales but status. Critics who lambast Chromebook Pixel as an over-priced web browser wrapped in pretty hardware miss the point. Badly. The laptop will sell, but not in mass-volume because it's not meant to. Is Lamborghini about sales or style? I ask not seeing much commentary about how the Italian sports car is a failure because Ford sells millions more Explorers.
Chromebook Pixel is the luxury car of computers running Chrome OS and perpetually connected to the cloud. Google's beauty is a status symbol for people willing to plunk down $1,299 or $1,449 and makes, along with newer Nexus devices, a bold brand statement: Google is a premium brand and the company a real innovator. For the people who love the brand and want to identify with it, like all those fanboys adoring Apple with their cash, Chromebook Pixel is an easy sell.