Google's high-end, high-priced Chromebook Pixel laptop became a market success in its creators' eyes on Thursday -- by influencing the design of a more affordable competitor from Dell.
The $1,299 Chromebook Pixel from 2013 and $999 Chromebook Pixel 2 introduced this year both run Chrome OS, Google's browser-based operating system designed to challenge Microsoft's Windows and Apple's OS X. Chromebooks have had limited appeal, in part because they run Web-based apps like Google Docs and Facebook but not traditional PC software like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, and the Pixel models' high prices cut that appeal even further.
But the Pixels succeeded in their mission to influence more mainstream Chromebooks, said Rajen Sheth, leader of Google's work to push Chrome OS in businesses and schools, in an interview here at Google headquarters.
"In the early days of Chromebooks, most were low-priced plasticky devices. There's charm to that, but there are also premium users who want to have a better device," Sheth said. "The Pixel is the best Chromebook out there. This Dell is going to be easily the second best and at a much more affordable price."
The Dell Chromebook 13 starts at $399 for a laptop with a metal exterior, carbon fiber cover, 13-inch 1,920x1,080 screen, Intel Celeron processor, 2 gigabytes of memory and 16GB of storage. Prices range up to $899 for models with touch screens and more powerful brains.