thanks for smiling along with me here :) believe me, I agree with you as it would be a greater value proposition for me personally if it had a bit more flexibility as well.
That being said, let me direct you to the Hyundai Accent in my driveway (rather than a Tesla S or an Ariel Atom!)
I do make a very good salary, so at the next upgrade cycle my new laptop may end up costing this much or more (a Retina MacBook Pro, a ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch, or something else).
I have enjoyed talking with all kinds of folks about this, wrapping my head around the whole idea of a high-end Chromebook with 'premium' pricing.
I am currently feeling that Google had to do this. If you look at the hardware quality alone (design/build/industrial engineering) of Apple laptops and tablets, of Microsoft Surface Pro or of (say) Samsung Ultrabooks, you can definitely see a marked difference between those and the last Samsung ARM-based Chromebook - which is a nice little machine for $249, but is it really a good 'flagship' device for a world-class corporation like Google?
Not really, to me anyway (even though I'll probably buy V2.0 of this one, I'd pay a little more for the plastic Samsung ARM Chromebook if it had a touchscreen).
Hence the Chromebook Pixel - and being a Chromebook, Google sort of had to 'dogfood' it a bit and give it limited local storage with Drive for bulk storage.
It also makes me think about the relative costs of components in these higher end products.
It seems like the high resolution display and the milled metal chassis adds more to the total cost than the CPU, memory and onboard storage (see comparative pricing of a Retina MacBook 13, a Surface Pro, an X1 Carbon Touch and the Pixel).
A touchscreen option adds a bit more to the display cost (see X1 Carbon vs X1 Carbon Touch) - which leads me to believe if Apple ever decides to add touchscreen displays, it shouldn't cost too much more - I mean, they make the bulk of their money these days selling touchscreen devices in the form of iPads!
Yes, lots to think about.
Me - I'm just waiting for this great tech from the Pixel/Tesla S to filter down to the next generation of ARM Chromebook/Hyundai Accent :)