Google’s Chromebook Pixel: The Missing Piece


I’ve been thinking about Pixel still. There’s something off about the entire product concept, but I just can’t figure out what exactly it is. Then it came to me, the hardware is an overkill to the software. 

Pixel’s hardware is great. I would  even say top of the line in the same price category. If you only look at the hardware spec, $1300 isn’t expensive to get the best Retina display, Intel Core i5 CPU, state-of-the-art aluminum body and back-lit keyboard. What makes people furious about this price is not the hardware itself, but what people can really do with this device. What experience can people actually get from the powerful hardware people will be paying dearly for.

The answer is ‘lackluster’ to say the least. There is just no application or service that can make the full use of the display and CPU power. Google claim that the hardware is so powerful you can watching multiple 1080P HD videos at the same time, but in actuality nobody will do that.

If I buy this thing, I’ll never fully exploit its potential, which means the extra premium I paid for will be wasted. This, my friends, is a BIG problem. During the many year’s of PC evolution, hardware is always lagging behind software demand. There are always the new 3D games that will use up the last ounce of processing power. Open multiple documents when working will very easily eat up all your memory. Hardware process power most of time is playing catch up.  People kept paying high-end hardware because they know it will make their 3D gameplay couple of frames faster, or it will cost them less time saving a big Word document.

It’s like 3G network before iPhone first release on 1997. Everyone in the industry was wondering what we can do with this ‘Faster 3G network’? Browsing and sending email doesn’t seem to use a lot of bandwidth. But after iPhone’s release, it very quickly used up all AT&T’s 3G network bandwidth, and they’ve been playing the catch up game till even now. Today, we even start to feel that 4G isn’t fast enough, let along 3G.

In our industry, it’s always the service/software drive the hardware, not the other way around. And the missing piece for Pixel is, they still didn’t find the drive from app or service yet, thus people won’t pay high dollar for their outstanding hardware. A premium hardware for its own sake is not good for anyone.



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