All I want is a proper replacement for the laptop that has served me for four years.
Some people have found that a Chromebook is just the best way to compute. I'm one of them and unless I need to do something that requires the big loud PC on my desk you'll find me with a Chromebook in front of me. And if I'm away from home it will be a really beat up aluminum model from early 2013 that is in dire need of a new battery. I still use the original Chromebook Pixel because it has its own data connection.
I reach for my old Chromebook Pixel instead of newer, better Chromebooks because it's connected and ready when I open the lid.
Now the Pixel was a great laptop in its day and still isn't horrible. I'm not trying to say that at all. But I have a few other, newer, and I'll say better Chromebooks here I could slip into my rucksack and take places, Ones with far better battery life (even before the battery in my Pixel started to go it never had all-day battery life) and Android apps. But none of them have a data connection and that makes a big difference for a lot of people. I'm one of them.
Having a laptop with its own connection is probably one of those things you have to use to appreciate it. I didn't want a Pixel because it has an LTE modem. The fast processor and 64GB of storage caught my eye and having used the "regular" 2013 Pixel for a review I knew I would get enough use out of it to justify the cost. LTE (including free data from Verizon every month) was a bonus. As it turns out, the bonus ended up being my favorite feature. I can tether with my phone and that works, but I use the data connection enough that I really don't want to watch the battery meter on my phone nose dive because I'm working somewhere with no Wi-Fi for hours at a time. It's a small luxury and I don't want to lose it.
I get why Acer or Samsung or any other company isn't making LTE Chromebooks. People buy Chromebooks because they are cheap and capable. An LTE connection and the thought of a monthly service fee doesn't fit very well when you're buying cheap and capable, and companies are smart to make things that sell well. What I don't get is why Google isn't making one.
People bought the Chromebook Pixel for two reasons: They liked Chrome and wanted something really nice or they realized that buying one was cheaper than paying for the 1TB of Google Drive space that came free with the things. The price wasn't the deciding factor because they were more expensive than a MacBook Air. Tacking $150 on the price for native connectivity isn't going to change any of that. The 2013 Chromebook Pixel with LTE was $1,449 and it went on back order on day one like every other Google hardware thing. They would be able to sell as many as they made unless they got silly and made millions of them.
And then you have Project Fi. Anyone with a Project Fi line can get an LTE data-only SIM card, specifically designed for use in tablets and laptops. Yet Google doesn't sell a tablet or laptop that can use it. That's a complete head scratcher and fodder for another article, but still. Google, you provide service designed for products you don't sell — are you kidding me?
If anyone were to make a new Chromebook with an LTE connection, I would be buying it.
These days, my Pixel is on its last legs and I'm not going to spend $300-$400 on another used or damaged one just to snag the battery out of it. I'll carry around my Chromebook Flip and a battery pack for my phone so I can tether, The Flip is a lot more portable and has great battery life so I don't feel too sorry for myself. But I would totally put another $1,500 on the credit card and buy a new Pixel with LTE if Google would make one. Instead, I'll think of this as a eulogy for the laptop that served me so well for four years.