Google's Chromebook Pixel: Is it or isn't it real?

A few days ago we reported that a leaked video purported to show an upcoming laptop from Google: The Chromebook Pixel. This new device is shown to feature a high resolution high density display with a capacitive touchscreen. This would be an iteration in terms of design on the previous CR-48 which was designed by Google and used as a proof of concept/development machine for the company’s Chrome OS.

At the time of writing of the original article it wasn't clear whether this is a real leaked video, a fake or just a well made concept. Since then, new information has emerged but unfortunately it doesn't do much good as the story is still convoluted and pretty strange, so we’ll just let you decide if this is true or not.

Recapping the events of last week: the Chromebook Pixel video, which you can see below, was leaked on the internet last Tuesday and was published on Google+ by Chrome developer Francois Beaufort. From there it was picked up by most major tech sites, includes ours. Soon after, a company called Slinky.me took credit for the video saying it was a project for Google that got leaked when the company’s servers were hacked.

For those that want to believe; there seems to be some compelling evidence that the Pixel may be a real device. There appears to be some references in pre-release versions of Chrome OS that point to the Pixel. Beaufort, the developer mentioned above discovered some references to a light bar that would indicate battery life similar to the one shown in the video. Other references to high-res images for Chrome OS have also been found. And Chromebookpixel.com was registered in October by MarkMonitor, a service Google has previously used for domain registration.

All in all there seem to be some compelling circumstances here that would prove the Pixel is real. However, as Cnet points out, the weak link is Slinky.me itself, the company that supposedly produced the video. First of all they seem to have very little legitimacy. According to their website written in poor English, Slinky is supposed to be a visual version of Wikipedia by building “the world’s largest visual guide”. However they also create browser themes, and apps – they even suggest one of their original apps “Slinky Plus” became the official Google+ app. The company also produced a few videos advertising Google products, though these seem to be closer to fan art than anything else or at the very least submissions for Google’s advertising team.

Then there’s Slinky’s CEO and co-founder Victor Koch. According to various profiles online he has worked for Google, finished in the top 100 Facebook Hacker Cup competition of 2010, invested in several different companies, none of which has an online presence, and “in 2011 joined the list of the richest promising entrepreneurs”. However, all of these online profiles are community-editable so they carry very little weight. Facebook has yet to verify his Hacker Cup claims and Google has repeatedly said they have no knowledge of Victor Koch ever working for them nor of any collaboration between Google and Slinky.

In an interview with Cnet he mentions his work at Google was a secret. A few hours later he backpedals and says he only said he worked at Google due to some 3rd party work he did on Chrome extensions, though that contradicts his earlier statements. The day after the video was leaked Koch posted an apology on his Google+ profile and tagged Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin. Many people questioned if a company that was actually working with Google would have done such a public thing but Koch said he did it because this was important for his team and Google’s team. He declined to answer any of Cnet’s follow-up questions.

This has certainly been a very strange turns of events, and in this story there definitely are some interesting pieces of evidence as well as some major questions left unanswered.

Source: Cnet 

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18 Comments

Tavitian Santiago said,
And who really cares, about a subpar linux notebook with an ultradense and useless display unless it is REALLY cheap and can install windows on it.

Education for one. There are so any people that just don't get what these are for. And they're always first to post.

Tavitian Santiago said,
And who really cares, about a subpar linux notebook with an ultradense and useless display unless it is REALLY cheap and can install windows on it.
Not everyone cares about running Windows

Rudy said,
Not everyone cares about running Windows

You are right, some people care about performance and functionality.

However, if you think you can make an argument that even puts ChromeOS within a generation of the features, technology, and performance of Windows 8, go for it - I'll be happy to hit the ball back over the fence.

Starting with an object based OS model directly at the kernel scheduling level to a matrix layered API model, agnostic hardware model to exploit the full performance of the hardware with interdependency issues and on up to the newer frameworks which are architecture portable, managed code that run at native code speeds.

Android, ChromeOS, let alone the pure aspects of Linux do not even come close to what NT offers from a technical engineering standpoint or to an enduser standpoint of functionality.

I am really starting to get tired of people equating NT with Linux, iOS, OS X, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, (insert aged OS kernel & OS model here). It has been 20 years since NT was brought into the world, and yet we still have NOTHING in the OSS world or even a closed source solution that even approaches the fundamental technologies NT is built on. Sadly I wish the OSS world would get their head out of their **s and put together an OS that is not grinding along using really dated kernel concepts with a generic I/O model as its main mechanism of hardware interaction.

The 'network' computer was tried several times and is even where the basis of our history of computing comes 'from' with centralized systems and multiple terminals. However, when we can get the 'best' of both worlds and pack significant features and performance at a local level and still have access to the network functionality, why on earth would people give up the local performance and functionality?

Seriously, there is nothing preventing people from using Windows like a network device, and with Windows 8 and the cloud integration, it has the same settings and roaming user data sets as ChromeOS.

thenetavenger said,

You are right, some people care about performance and functionality.

However, if you think you can make an argument that even puts ChromeOS within a generation of the features, technology, and performance of Windows 8, go for it - I'll be happy to hit the ball back over the fence.

Starting with an object based OS model directly at the kernel scheduling level to a matrix layered API model, agnostic hardware model to exploit the full performance of the hardware with interdependency issues and on up to the newer frameworks which are architecture portable, managed code that run at native code speeds.

Android, ChromeOS, let alone the pure aspects of Linux do not even come close to what NT offers from a technical engineering standpoint or to an enduser standpoint of functionality.

I am really starting to get tired of people equating NT with Linux, iOS, OS X, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, (insert aged OS kernel & OS model here). It has been 20 years since NT was brought into the world, and yet we still have NOTHING in the OSS world or even a closed source solution that even approaches the fundamental technologies NT is built on. Sadly I wish the OSS world would get their head out of their **s and put together an OS that is not grinding along using really dated kernel concepts with a generic I/O model as its main mechanism of hardware interaction.

The 'network' computer was tried several times and is even where the basis of our history of computing comes 'from' with centralized systems and multiple terminals. However, when we can get the 'best' of both worlds and pack significant features and performance at a local level and still have access to the network functionality, why on earth would people give up the local performance and functionality?

Seriously, there is nothing preventing people from using Windows like a network device, and with Windows 8 and the cloud integration, it has the same settings and roaming user data sets as ChromeOS.

No start screen, no butt ugly theme, and much cheaper than a surface RT? Personally I call that a win. Windows 7 I love, but I would rather own a chrome book than any surface.

I see Chrome having performance issues doing a proper scaling (2,5x) on 2560x1440 monitors even on relatively recent Intel processors, how could they got that working on a slow ARM SoC? Are they going to rely on upscaling like Apple?

Meh the whole thing sounds like it was just a publicity stunt. I have no idea why though since it seems like they don't do anything and won't be profiting from anywhere anyways...

Besides it says he made themes/extensions for Chrome, so that's probably where that color scheme came from. It's not hard to learn CSS after all!

techbeck said,

Its not supposed to run a bunch of apps. Read on what a Chromebook is and what kind of person would use one. It does have a bunch of games to choose from as well.

http://www.google.com/intl/us/...eatures-learnmore.html#play

You can also install software to run programs off your other systems via the internet.

...and you can have these same features on a Windows notebook as well, and 'also' run games and software locally.

When a Chromebook is requiring hardware at a level that Windows 8 can comfortably run on, why give up all the local capabilities just to have something that is not Windows?

If you take the specs of even the CR-48 that came out in 2010, it required as much processing power for ChromeOS that the full Windows 8 OS does today. So if Google is needing hardware that is capable of running a much richer and complex OS like Windows 8 just to get ChromeOS to 'perform well', this is a major problem.

If Chromebooks were running on 200mhz CPUs from 18 years ago, and 64mb of RAM, then there WOULD be a demand and use for these devices. However, ChromeOS, like Android is a bulky and slow OS that needs lots of RAM and lots of CPU cycles just to do very basic things.

They truly have no hardware advantage, and if 'cost' is important, Microsoft can and will play in the virtually nothing OS cost markets, as they do in 3rd world projects. Even the Netbook surge in 2006/2007 with Linux, Microsoft came in with $15 copies of Windows and cleaned up the failed massive Linux device returns with a Windows option at virtually no additional cost.

thenetavenger said,

...and you can have these same features on a Windows notebook as well, and 'also' run games and software locally.

When a Chromebook is requiring hardware at a level that Windows 8 can comfortably run on, why give up all the local capabilities just to have something that is not Windows?

If you take the specs of even the CR-48 that came out in 2010, it required as much processing power for ChromeOS that the full Windows 8 OS does today. So if Google is needing hardware that is capable of running a much richer and complex OS like Windows 8 just to get ChromeOS to 'perform well', this is a major problem.

--x-snip-x--

I agree with you. Where is the market? The cost savings is in giving the OS away for free because it is open source? That argument dried up years ago. There needs to be more than a negligibly small $ incentive. Who is left? People who dislike Microsoft and Apple? Is that the market for this?

Maybe in emerging markets, but I don't see these being very popular in the US not even for public schools. Even poor school districts seem to have amazing IT budgets and resources (in my state anyway).

thenetavenger said,

...and you can have these same features on a Windows notebook as well, and 'also' run games and software locally.

And a full Windows system tends to run more and Chromebooks tend to be cheaper. Also, contrary to popular belief, not everyone likes Microsoft and wants to use Microsoft. I know many people who are strictly Linux and if it wasnt for my job, I would be leaning more towards that way as well.

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