Google has unveiled its first touchscreen-enabled laptop.

The Chromebook Pixel runs Google’s Chrome operating system and has been “largely built” by the web giant.

The laptop has Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors, fast 4G LTE connectivity and a high-resolution screen aimed at challenging Apple’s Retina Display.

Analysts say the move represents a fresh bid to build market share for Chromebooks against machines running Microsoft and Apple operating systems.

Unlike PCs that use installed software such as Microsoft Word, Chrome OS computers run their applications through the firm’s web browser and store their files in the cloud.

The internet giant told the BBC the device was “largely built by Google, with components that are manufactured globally”.

The laptop’s display resolution is similar to the so-called Retina Display of Apple’s MacBook range, aimed to have pixel density high enough for the human eye not to notice pixelation when looking at the screen at a typical viewing distance.

“This Chromebook has the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today,” said the company.

“Packed with 4.3 million pixels, the display offers sharp text, vivid colours and extra-wide viewing angles.
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The challenge for the Chromebook is that computing is shifting towards tablets”

Geoff Blaber CCS Insight

“With a screen this rich and engaging, you want to reach out and touch it — so we added touch for a more immersive experience.”

Embracing the cloud

The first Chrome-powered laptop, built by Samsung, went on sale in June 2011. Chrome laptops that followed were made by Acer, Lenovo and HP.

But so far, Chromebooks have had difficulties challenging Windows-powered computers, said CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber.

“Chromebooks have struggled for relevance to date, stuck between comparably-priced but entertainment-centric tablets – many of which run Android – and more functional PCs,” he said.

[The new computer] won’t transform its prospects but Google will hope it serves as a flagship device that has a halo effect for the broader portfolio.”

Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest operating system launched last year, has touchscreen capabilities.

Mr Blaber said: “Touch is now pervasive across every computing category from phones to high-end PCs.

“The challenge for the Chromebook is that computing is shifting towards tablets whilst most consumers lives are not yet fully embracing the cloud versus local storage.”

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