Google's Chromebook Pixel opens USB Type-C to Android, Chrome OS devices

Google has also added more horsepower to the Chromebook Pixel, which received its first upgrade in two years

Google Chromebook Pixel (1)

Google Chromebook Pixel (1)

Starting with the new Chromebook Pixel, Google is paving the way to a future in which Chrome OS and Android devices will charge faster and have fewer ports.

The new Chromebook Pixel, announced on Wednesday, will have the multifaceted USB Type C port, which could save users from carrying a gaggle of wires. Beyond powering up Pixel, the port will link the laptop to monitors, cameras, printers and external storage devices.

Google was just a few days short of being the first to introduce a laptop with a USB Type-C port. Apple added one USB Type C port to its new 12-inch MacBook just a few days ago, but the Chromebook Pixel has two such ports.

The Chromebook Pixel was first introduced two years ago with a 12.85-inch screen. A US$999 base model of the latest Pixel has an Intel Core i5 processor based on the Broadwell microarchitecture, 8GB RAM and 32GB of solid-state drive storage.

A $1,299 Pixel model has a Core i7 processor and 64GB of storage. The screen resolution of 2560 x 1700 pixels hasn't changed from its predecessor. Both models are 15.4 millimeters thick and weigh 1.5 kilograms.

But with such high prices, the Pixel isn't for everyone, especially with low-cost Chromebooks from other PC makers already available. But Google's goal with Pixel is to showcase the latest Chromebook features, and the company hopes PC and mobile device makers will grab some features such as the USB Type-C port.

"The Pixel is one of the first products to launch with this new standard, with more Chromebooks and Android devices following suit soon," said Andrew Bowers, Google's director of consumer hardware, in a blog entry.

USB has been widely used to charge smartphones and tablets, but not laptops. Most smartphones and tablets are already charged using micro-USB 2.0 ports, with a handful of smartphones using micro-USB 3.0.

Google in the past worked with Hewlett-Packard to bring micro-USB 2.0 charging to Chromebooks. But the experiment failed, and the companies had to recall the chargers. The new USB Type C port -- which is based on the USB 3.1 specification -- is more feasible for charging as it can carry enough power to run even TVs and home appliances.

Some USB Type-C storage devices are now trickling into the market. SanDisk announced a SanDisk Dual USB Drive Type C with 32GB of capacity. LaCie announced the Porsche Design Mobile Drive line of external storage drives with up to 2TB of capacity.

The new Pixel will fully charge in just two hours and 15 minutes through USB Type C, Google said. The laptop will provide 12 hours of battery life.

The Chromebook Pixel will also move data faster between the laptop and peripherals. The USB 3.1 port can shuffle data at up to 10Gbps (bits per second), which is two times faster than the current USB 3.0. The USB 3.1 technology has also received publicity for the USB Type-C cable, which is the same on both ends so users can flip cables and not worry about plug orientation.

Google has also launched a new Google Store from where the Pixel made by Google and others can be purchased.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Googlehardware systemslaptops

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?