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A Review of my Chromebook Pixel

As you know, last week Google gave me a Chromebook Pixel. Which is also a disclaimer: I always give my own fair opinion but some people find it important to know that I was given a certain device for review.

Additionally, some people think that I always rate Google products highly, and endlessly criticise Apple, Microsoft, whoever. That’s not correct, far from it even. However, I do think that Google is the company with the best services out there and is a company that understands best what the future will look like. Or at least a future that I want to live in. Think of Google Glass, self-driving Cars, Google Now, or operating systems that depend on the cloud. And yes, I’m fully aware of how some people don’t want to use those things because they feel it’s not the right time. They feel like idiots if they’d wear Google Glass, they see self-driving cars as nonsense since they believe it’s more dangerous than humans driving their cars, they don’t understand Google Now, or don’t believe the internet is good enough for cloud based operating systems. However, I enjoy trying these futuristic experiences and supplying feedback on them - it’s important to have dreams and to imagine how technology can help us in our day to day life. And sure, those experiences are not always perfect right now, here in 2013, but they can only be improved if there is real user data available.

The same applies to Microsoft, who have some truly amazing technology in their R&D labs, but I never feel that it has ended up in the hands of real users. I remember the incredibly futuristic Microsoft Courier (, or the amazing speech recognition technology ( they have. I wish I could play around with it. But I can’t. And I don’t think any of the other big tech companies out there are even remotely as innovative when it comes to consumer products. The only other big innovators I see are much smaller, think about companies like MakerBot Industries ( or Oculus (

Let’s move on to the Chromebook Pixel. All reviews about any Chrome OS device inherently have to be at least a partial review of Chrome OS as well. Many people don’t know or understand what it brings as an operating system. I’m a fan, and it offers me many things that I can’t get from traditional Windows or OS X machines. Obviously first of all there’s a huge overlap in what you expect from all desktop operating systems - it supports all social networks, I can do my instant messaging, I can stream my music, do all my documents/spreadsheets/presentations in Google Drive, write emails, look at YouTube, and the list goes on. If this is similar to what you do on your operating systems than Chrome OS could well be for you. If the only video- and audio editing you do is relatively basic than you’re still perfectly fine with Chrome OS. I’m pretty sure that by listing these things I’ve covered the vast majority of what people are looking for. Or at least 80% of it. Just think about that.

However, there are a few things that Chrome OS brings to the table and that genuinely annoy me with other operating systems. First of all we have the boot times. I just clocked it, and the Chromebook Pixel takes exactly seven seconds to boot when it’s switched off. And when it’s in standby mode it just switches on instantly after lifting up the screen. At my work I have a Windows 7 machine that takes 5-10 minutes to cold-boot. I also have access to an OS X machine, which takes about one minute to cold-boot. Being frustrated about cold-booting those machines can be seen as a #firstworldproblem , but once you’re used to a Chrome OS device it’s hard to tolerate those delays. And sure, people tell me all the time that just switching those devices to stand-by is a great help, and it is, but it still annoys me that I have to wait that long in order to use them.

Second of all, I have a pet-hate for software updates. Of course, I love how they bring new functionality - but really, have you ever noticed any changes that really excited you? Nowadays you boot a traditional computer and it tells you how Flash, Java, Quicktime, iTunes, Windows, OS X etc have to update. It’s genuinely bad for the average user, because we all know that they just ignore it for as long as possible. Which poses a big security risk. This never happens with a Chrome OS device. Chrome OS devices update once every six weeks or so, and this happens entirely seamless in the background. It is clean and smooth, which is how it should be.

And speaking about security issues - as long as you have 2-step verification enabled on your Google account (do it now if you haven’t done so yet: you can be largely considered completely safe. Compare that to other desktop operating systems - if you even remotely venture outside of the norm of websites you know you enter a world full of viruses, trojans, and data-mining toolbars. Again, Chrome OS holds a strong advantage here. Sure, you can install virus scanners (that again will ask for updates), but why do I have to put in all that money and energy if there’s a competitor out there that offers something better?

So to summarise, for me the fact that Chrome OS devices have ridiculously fast boot times, never bothers anyone with updates, and can be considered ultra-safe gives it a serious competitive advantage over any other desktop operating system out there. Just think about the huge amounts of time you save with them. If you live in a world where time is money then these devices are what you’re looking for. Chromebooks are the ultimate zero-hassle computers. (also think about Chromebooks as a gifting option when you’re tired of playing for IT Support to others).

These exact reasons are probably also why some people don’t get the advantage of Chromebooks. It’s reasonable to assume that many people that spend a ton of time on tech sites and tech blogs also have the time to tinker away with their computers. It’s quite likely that they even enjoy it. Having a machine that saves you so much hassle and time probably doesn’t make much sense to them. They don’t see the value in it. But one has to appreciate how forward thinking it is to have such a seamlessly smooth zero-hassle operating system. There is a huge market for it, which is clearly demonstrated by how the Chromebook has been #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list for laptops every day since it launched (, and they represent more than 10% of notebook sales at Currys PC World (, the largest electronics retailer here in the UK.

For personal use I’ve always used a variety of Windows or OS X machines in my life. In June 2011 Google released one of the first commercially available Chromebooks, the Samsung Series 5. As an experiment I decided to purchase one, whilst at the same time I also still had a ‘traditional’ VAIO laptop running Windows 7. I made a clear point of moving my offline content to the cloud and after a while I noticed that I actually only still used the Chromebook. So after 6 months I decided to sell my VAIO and to go Chromebook exclusive. Then in May last year I upgraded to its successor, the Series 5 550. It’s an amazing system and it’s the Chromebook that I often recommend to people. And now I have the Chromebook Pixel.

The Chromebook Pixel is obscenely powerful. The specs and the design of the laptop are overwhelming - it has an Intel Core i5 processor running at 1.8Ghz, comes with 1 Terabyte of cloud storage, and has a 2560 x 1700 pixel screen (it’s the highest resolution notebook on the market, for reference: the Macbook Pro Retina has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels). The screen is drop dead gorgeous, it shows 4.3 million pixels at such a high resolution that they are absolutely invisible to the naked eye. It almost feels ridiculous looking at the 239 pixels per inch that are crammed into the screen, it delivers a much sharper image than the MacBook Air’s 128 pixels per screen. The (Gorilla Glass) screen has a 3:2 aspect ratio, and has full support for touch interactions. The Pixel is crafted from an anodised aluminium alloy and it leaves absolutely nothing in sight; vents are hidden, screws are invisible, and stereo speakers are tucked away beneath the backlit keyboard. It has three microphones for perfect noise cancellation and it has an etched glass touchpad which is one of the best (if not the best) on the market.

From a hardware and industrial design point of view the Chromebook Pixel is absolutely in the top end of the market. If Chrome OS caters for your needs then the Chromebook Pixel is undoubtedly the best thing you can get.

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The Chromebook Pixel is ready to take on the internet, but is the internet ready to take on the Chromebook Pixel? One thing that bothered me is that, due to the amazing screen, it suddenly becomes noticeable how poor the quality is of some of the images on the internet. On Google+ most things are nicely rendered, but the images on the left of the screen look noticeably fuzzy and rough. Even the Google logo on feels like it could really do with an upgrade. The internet will improve over time, but this was one of the things that I found a bit frustrating.

Another thing that let me down a bit is the battery life. I actually use my Chromebooks almost always at home, so this shouldn’t be an issue, but somehow it feels like it is. My regular Chromebook (the Samsung Series 5 550) lasts about 7 hours on a full battery, but the Chromebook Pixel ‘only’ gives me 5.5 to 6 hours. Maybe it’s just me - this seems to be a standard figure for Macbooks and Ultrabooks so perhaps I’m just expecting too much? Google has set a new standard for most laptops out there, and this is the most serious foray that Google has done when it comes to designing their own commercial hardware - so why aren’t there bigger improvements on this front? It feels like a missed opportunity.

The same applies to the lack of a Google logo on the device. Or even a Chrome logo. There is hardly anything on this device that tells you what it is. On the (beautiful) piano hinge and on the top of the keyboard you can see the word Chrome spelt out, but that’s it. And when you open the screen you can't see the piano hinge anymore. I feel like Google could have made a stronger statement with this device. It is something to be proud of, I don’t feel like they should have been subtle here. People won’t know what hardware they’re actually looking at, which oddly enough is very similar to what Chrome OS is: an incredible tool but hardly anyone knows what it really is. Again, it feels like a missed opportunity.

One other hot topic around the Chromebook Pixel is obviously its price. £1049 definitely puts it in the high end of the market. For my personal use Chrome OS is simply the best operating system out there. I can’t even imagine how much time I’ve saved due to the fast boot times, the seamless background updates and not having to worry about viruses and other rubbish. And it runs exactly all the software I need. The Chromebook Pixel is for the Chrome OS power user, and it shows. It’s an obscenely powerful device, but I’m not entirely sold on it being that amazing that it would be worth spending £1049 on. For the same price I can get three Series 5 550 Chromebooks that are also amazing.

If you have the disposable income and are as comfortable as I am with Chrome OS then I think it’s worth £1049. It gets you one of the best designed laptops on the market, with the best display, a fast processor and a Terabyte of storage space. There are many people who are spending over £1300 for a Macbook Pro - so from that point of view the Chromebook Pixel is definitely in line with the competition. But in the end you have to decide if you’re willing to spend that amount of money on going that extra mile. However, if you want to experience Chrome OS in the absolute best way then this is a must-buy.
Mike McLoughlin's profile photoMartijn van der Meulen's profile photoMax Huijgen's profile photoJerry Daniels's profile photo
I want to TL:DR but Im truly interested so I <crtl>+<+> to enlarge the page and begin to read.
The main thing for me is how am I going to install programs on there that I use everyday?  For $1,300 I better be able to edit my RAW files with Photoshop.
+Steve Thomason It's the same as being, let's say, a serious user of Garageband and then getting a Windows machine. It's not going to be the same. Each OS comes with their own pros and cons.
Do you think that part of the reason for the price is for reviews like this? It seems to be a pretty common thread that reviewers suggest getting the 550 (3 times over no less), is this price to highlight the value of the other Chromebooks?
+Nick Watts Good point. I think it makes people more aware of all Chromebook options that are out there. Some people will read reviews about the Pixel and decide that this is the device they want. Other people might start thinking about cheaper options. The Pixel is definitely a bold introduction that has people thinking.
+Martijn van der Meulen There's a Chrome logo on the top of the keyboard, right above the window switcher key and the dimmer-- it's not just on the piano hinge. 
+Martijn van der Meulen Great review! Really well written and saved in the Pocket! This will save time in future arguments against haters ;) 
Do you think you will add a video to that test? Kind of a hands on? 
Would be sweet to have a sight of the beast running and how it reacts to various tasks that other Chromebooks are struggling with. 
Of course it's still an early version of Chrome OS for that model so we can hope for some optimization in the months to come! 
+Martijn van der Meulen True but that is an iOS specific program.  With Photoshop, it works on both and has no allegiance. So either Adobe needs to get PS on Chrome OS or not too many people are going to be buying a Pixel at $1,300 to surf the web and watch movies.
+Martijn van der Meulen I find it an honest review which highlights everything which is good about Chrome. I belong to the 20% so it's not for me, but serving the needs of 80% is great.
There are two issues with your review in my opinion:"
a) did you get your Pixel for free on the Google event and if so shouldn't you add that info?
b) the mysterious focus on booting times. I'm running Windows 8 on a desktop and it falls asleep overnight and in the morning I shake my mouse and my monitor is the limiting factor in speed of work again. Basically about 5 seconds. Why would anyone be interested in cold boot times IF they are heavy users.
+Melissa Daniels That's what I said: "On the (beautiful) piano hinge and underneath the screen you can see the word Chrome spelt out, but that’s it."

I've clarified it a bit.

+Steve Thomason I was actually talking about the OS X version of Garageband.
Great review, thank you! I took the plunge and ordered this morning. Can't wait to see that screen in person!
professional audio, video and photo editing is coming to the cloud too (unprofessional editing, but good for the mainstream user, is already there). also games. it's inevitable. that's why +Marques Brownlee has been sayng that chromebooks are too far ahead. At Google they take their "moon shooting" quite seriously! 
The other thing to consider +Steve Thomason is that it is up to Adobe or any other software manufacturer to step up and deliver software that is cross-platform. I'm not talking about specifically ChromeOS, but because CrOS is web based it would work fine, why hasn't Adobe(to pick on) done this? The answer is simply ... IDK ... Take Project ROME for example it was a web based editor for business cards, brochures, and more ... Adobe let it die and said it would still be available ... well its not. I designed my current business card with it and it turned out great and was super easy to do. I'm glad I grabbed the files before they killed access completely.

My point here ... software devs need to step up ... realize that the web and it's many emerging languages/frameworks have a lot to offer and can be shipped easily when considering the internet is available almost everywhere and will continue to grow.
Argghh!  Still torn. My gut feel says I'll love this machine (I'm 98% Chromebook now) and I have hankered after a tall screen for as many years as there has been since everyone went 16:9.

I've hovered over the buy now button a few times in the last couple of days but never managed to commit that £1k.

You are right about gifting to family members (or encouraging them to buy), my two daughters and mother are all now Chromebook users and the support requirement has dropped to zero.

Maybe I should reward myself, for freeing up all that time, with a Chromebook Pixel. I just need to go and view one first. Anyone know if they are in PC World yet?

Thanks for the review +Martijn van der Meulen 
+Martijn van der Meulen +Tyson Kemp I guess I'm just frustrated as I want to love this product but it's too expensive for not a lot of real time use for me.  I know it's shortsighted to think this way but really, it's all about the now.  Like I need a new laptop and I would have bought this in a sec if it offered more flexibility/ability to install.  
+Steve Thomason I'm totally in your shoes, I really really love this device but I can't justify it on the base that I'm stuck in legacy apps (and games :P) and I couldn't afford to continue having two expensive computers.
Chromebooks are a bit ahead of their time and the world and Internet need to catch up :) 
It defeats the purpose of a Chromebook, but it is nice to be aware of the fact that the Pixel is also somewhat Linux friendly. Great for people who want to take the plunge but are afraid of leaving 'a traditional' OS behind. Gives you best of both world until you are fully converted and never want to go back ;)
For photo editing, there's no doubt that on a Chromebook, Autodesk Pixlr gets the job done. And WeVideo is perfect for video editing, not to mention has seamless Google Drive integration. Of course, UJam and AudioSauna are (at least in my opinion) professional quality cloud audio editing (and UJam even has Google Drive integration) done right.

Hands down, the Web is more than the Web. It's now an entire application layer that happens to be running from remote servers (and thanks to HTML5, seamless offline-to-online-to-offline sync is also a breeze to accomplish), and it's becoming more and more powerful with each passing month.
So many other things I wanted to write but just couldn't get around to. So many subtle things that show the attention to detail that has gone into crafting this device.

Is there any Googler who can tell me if Mike & Maaike (who were behind the Nexus Q and the original G1 Android phone) were involved in designing the Chromebook Pixel? +Melissa Daniels?
I understand the ... now thinking ... but I would also encourage the ... for what's next idea ... expressed but also very true in the marketing. To see my CR-48 running the latest builds 2 years later and to know it will continue to update gives me so much hope for what's possible while still being able to do what I need to ... now.
I've been waiting for this machine for a long time, but honestly I think it's very expensive. There should be prices between the two: the inexpensive chromebooks and the chromebook pixel.
+Max Huijgen 

a) Euh, in my first sentence I state clearly that I got the device from Google for testing purposes?

b) You clearly have a better Windows PC than I have at work. Mine takes several minutes to get back comfortably from stand-by.
+Martijn van der Meulen I'll have to agree and disagree with +Max Huijgen
Windows 8 boots rather fast when turned off, however! This is not a cold boot, Windows now uses a technology which puts the computer in deep sleep and resume it from a file on the HDD, it makes it really fast to boot (30s) but it's not a real cold boot. 
When back from sleep (basically when you close the lid unplugged) it takes about 5s to get back to a level you can use it.
I have a gaming laptop but not the most powerful ones, in a scope of comparison, I cold boot my Win7 in about 3min. 
I like the Pixel and it is a stunningly beautiful but considering the basic needs I have, I would be overspending. Though I am a power user of Chrome OS because it is my primary computer, a high end laptop isn't exactly what I would need. I believe the $249 laptop will serve it's purpose for me. People can say it's not high end and so on but it's still a fantastic and beautiful laptop in comparison to so many out there. The price is the main issue for most of us. I simply find that the $249 laptop does what I need and for now, my budget is staying with what I know I can afford. I plan on upgrading from my CR-48 to the $249 Chromebook. It's safe to say, I need an upgrade and the Pixel is just too much in cost for me to justify. 
Nice thoughts +Martijn van der Meulen - I might just buy one of these as I'm feeling a bit flush at the moment. Does anyone if PC World have demo units in the UK?
I'm not a techie, nor do I ever intend to own a pixel. However, I have wondered what all the fuss is about! This review explains everything in a way that's really easy to understand, so thank you! 
+Selden Deemer Haha, I actually still have a Chrome sticker that I got with one of my previous Chromebooks. Not good enough unfortunately :P.
sorry +Martijn van der Meulen for missing the first sentence. I stand corrected.
As for the booting I don't know, I have a fast harddisk, but not even a SSD, and yes I can boot in a few seconds. I find the whole booting issue something for noobs who 'turn on their computer' while I can't live without one and I guess you are in the same category 
+Selden Deemer Neat idea but I also like the idea that people will come up and ask ... HEY what the heck is that thing? ... then I get to talk about the CrBook and CrOS till their eyes dilate and they say ... thanks.
Were there some videos you were considering to include with your review?
Great review, I think chrome os is actually best suited to casual users so this high price device for power users just feels misplaced. I got my father in law a chrome book for Christmas and he loves it: it's sleek, light, lasts for ages, never slows down, won't get viruses and is always up to date. He doesn't use many apps and is plugged into googles Eco system so its night on perfect, the complications around printing (he doesn't have a cloud printer) are the only blot in the copy book

This looks like a lovely machine and certainly seems like a halo device for chrome is but, given the strengths of the platform I am not sure that is the right message to go with
+Doug Hawkes I posted one earlier today and one yesterday. I want to do at least one more showing the touchscreen functionality of the device, and possibly one about offline use of the Chromebook. I don't have much time for the remainder of the week, but maybe on Sunday :).
+Rob Hardie Yes good points. Lots of people use the word "poweruser". 95% of people are not even close to being a poweruser. Other computer companies sell stuff you don't need and play on your desire to be a poweruser. The fact is most people are not power users and never will be. I am a designer so rely on my MacBook Pro, so I suppose I am a poweruser... but at home i'm just a normal everyday user like most other people. 
+Martijn van der Meulen Great review of the Pixel, Chrome OS, and just a general look at what people generally think when they see this thing. I bought mine yesterday, and it comes tomorrow. Seems like the perfect device for me!
Great review! Thanks +Martijn van der Meulen !

Battery life: you're just spoiled! :-) specs / battery life ratio is awesome! This is not a series 5.

Pricing: The (touch)screen makes it more expensive. I bet Google will launch something without touch for about 799,--. Now I have a HP Business notebook, 4 hours battery life, for 1100 Euro.

Now we have a contract for series 5 chromebooks, I love Chrome OS. But Series 5 are way to slow to use as primary system. So I hope Google will come with a upgrade offer soon!
+Jake Coventry I think of this as "SUV syndrome." Car manufacturers want you to buy big SUVs because they can do anything, tow a boat, haul 8 people, crush smaller vehicles, etc. Except that I don't have a boat, and my wife and I really don't need anything bigger than a Honda Fit.

Perhaps the most apt description I have seen for the Pixel appeared in a ReadWrite Mobile piece yesterday: "When Technology Trumps Product." Even with its faults (price and disappointing battery life), I want one.
+Dailos Guerra you wrote:
"There should be prices between the two: the inexpensive chromebooks and the chromebook pixel"

Sorry to quote myself [blush] but I recently wrote on a post of mine the following about how I think the moaning about price is misplaced as there now exists a range of Chromebooks -

Non-power user - Try one of our entry level devices which will do all your basic things and are incredibly cheap.

Slightly more advanced user? - You might prefer our 550 model which costs more but has twice the RAM so that you can handle HD video, tons of tabs and really intensive websites with ease.

Advanced? Want to experience the most cutting-edge laptop for experiencing the best of the web, with top of the range parts in every section and things like the touchscreen 239PPI which will blow you away? You can.

Options... choice... how can that be bad? It really is now 'for everyone'.

Sent from my Pixel ;-)
PS: one should note that the Pixel is a 1000£ device with no HDMI port, right?
Really great article............very well written! If it wasn't for your in-depth knowledge of Google Products Martijn...I would still have an over-priced I-phone ( not a Nexus 4) and still be on that horrible thing called...ehm Facebook. I agree that googles way at looking/sharing technology is awesome.
+Jonathan Seyghal Martin summed it up beautifully: zero-hassle.

It's not enough for me to put Chrome OS on top of other systems, but I absolutely agree the 250$ CBs are the best tech gift for the family: I should totally get one for my brother, sister and mum (they just browse), instead of getting a more powerful one for 1000£ just for me and still can't use Skype or serious video editing...
Hi +Martijn van der Meulen Do you know anything about what happens with the storage plan after the three years of 1tb free Google Drive storage is finished? 
Very nice, and very objective and unbiased +Martijn van der Meulen :)
I love this comment: People won’t know what hardware they’re actually looking at, which oddly enough is very similar to what Chrome OS is: an incredible tool but hardly anyone knows what it really is.

That is the story of my life when I talk about Chrome OS... No one "gets it".
To your comments earlier on the 3:2 aspect ratio, I think I finally get it. I have a Cr-48, and a Google I/O Samsung 550, but my favorite device is my Acer AC700, mainly because it does such a good job on 16:9 videos.  Once I read your post and saw the video, I understood a little better. The 3:2 gives you much more vertical real estate, while still doing a great job of displaying HD movies.
+Jon Barron: At the moment there is no required start date for redemption, so you don't need to redeem the space until you need it.

At the end of 3 years, all your files remain on Google Drive as read-only. If you are over the "free" quota, and want to modify existing files, you have to pay the monthly rate for however much data you have uploaded NOT for 1 terabyte (unless you have uploaded that much).

Keep in mind that Google docs, sheets, etc., and photos less than 2048x2048 do not count against the free quota. I would be willing to be that 3 years from now, Google's basic free quota will be much larger than 5GB.
Hey +Selden Deemer thanks for taking the time to answer that so thoroughly. Hadn't realised that docs, sheets etc. Don't get counted and definitely agree with free capacity going up after three years as with gmail. Thanks mate. 
I helped out a newbie Chromebook user yesterday get his cloud printing working. This chap relies on tech for his business and his windows setup had been letting him down recently so I recommended a Chromebook. He has not looked back. To witness the effect that such a switchover has on someone who 'gets' what living in the cloud means and whose suffering has been eliminated so visibly is very heart warming. He has fallen in love with my Pixel too. 
Does Chromebook have basic network software like remote desktop? Or VPN software ? Im wondering is many of us are software developers. If I cant configure Chrome to remote into a network or access command prompts, nics, etc, its not that useful.
+Mitch Stokely Google has a VDI client built in and on the Chrome Web Store called Chrome Remote Desktop.

As far as VPN goes you can do OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec(pre-shared key or user cert)
Are there software vendors that build drivers for this Chrome OS?
To run the software that interfaces with the hardware. I assume an RDP or VPN client hooks into the network card somehow? I would guess some vendors need to support the OS to do that? Just trying to get a feel for what I might need based on how I work in Windows. 
+Mitch Stokely You might need to leave your windows experience behind a little. ChromeOS works in a completely different way. No drivers can be added. No software can be 'installed' - apart from web apps and soon packaged apps.
+Mike McLoughlin I understand that but my point is there are some basic features of laptops that everyone uses. Network cards and having access to that is one. Customizing login access another. Then screen resolution is another. Managing events, hd space, performance, or exceptions being thrown another. Being able to remote in is another. Command prompts for see what IPs you are connected to, another. Im just curious what the OS can or cant do.
Packaged Apps are like installed programs in that they store their resources on the local storage but also sync with cloud services when requested.
+Mitch Stokely 

Custom login = Yes to an extent but what is your requirement?

Screen resolution = No, its system set, even on the hdmi.

Events management = You have access to logs, again though what are you trying to manage?

HD Space = Yes

Performance = Yes, but are you trying to tweak that, then no.

Exceptions = Again you have log access but Im not sure what your trying to do so I dont know how to relate it to a chromebook.

Remote Desktop = I covered that ... its a yes.

CMD Prompt/Shell = Yes in consumer mode and an full access/root in dev mode.
I mean, there are already apps that install locally and work offline, to some extent 
+Ivano Forgione yes and those apps are called packaged apps ... Google Drive is a PA ... anything that is offline capable is a PA.
Yes Tyson, that does help. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Much appreciated.
Sorry (a bit busy at work, hehe) - Packaged apps are designed to work offline by default. A bit of a shocker, really and a big departure. Think a local windows program like calculator. But with optional network stuff that works correctly whether connected or not. Very exciting - this tells you all you need to know: 
+Mike McLoughlin Packaged apps have existed since the Cr-48 years. I know, because I've stumbled upon apps that launch "chrome-extension://<Web Store ID>" URLs (literally exactly what packaged apps do) countless times. Nowadays, however, there's even more powerful APIs available to them...

Edit: Oh, and Fiabee was a perfect example of a packaged app from those times... Not to mention, of course, that Chrome Remote Desktop is also a packaged app (just needs an Internet connection to connect to another device, but the UI of the app is definitely packaged)...
That blog post mentioned CWS support "later this year" at the time it was written...

... But wait! It was written in August 2012, which means there should definitely be CWS support for (at least some of it) by now.
+Martijn van der Meulen I think this post deserves to live where it won't become part of a stream's history and not just your G+ profile. Do you have a blog or something where it could live longer?
+Martijn van der Meulen Pity. So much of the world will miss your stuff, but I understand. At one time I was tempted to do the same. Am still tempted, actually.
+Max Huijgen Too true. Maybe I should follow +Martijn van der Meulen example instead of trying to talk him into multi-publishing. Lord knows, this is the only place where I get any traction or engagement on anything I write.
Money quote of the day (from this post): The Chromebook Pixel is obscenely powerful.
+Martijn van der Meulen Given how thin the Pixel remains, the battery life is not really unreasonable or all that surprising to me. I wouldn't want it thicker (which it would have to be in order to provide more battery life span). Remember, that screen resolution and brightness giveth to the eyes, and it taketh away from the battery.
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